Porzingis and Beasley combine for 50 points, but it’s the other long-range shooting Euro big man, Lauri Markkanen, who shines for the Bulls in another wire-to-wire game between the rivals, this time resulting in a 122–119 loss for the Knicks.

As has been the theme this season, this latest Bulls and Knicks matchup came down to the wire. Also on brand: the Knicks lost in deeply deflating fashion, 122–119—this time in a double-OT.

In one of their only home games of the month, the Knicks—just 1-4 in their last four contests entering Wednesday—had no excuses, having not played since Sunday’s win in Dallas. Plus, they were happily welcoming back Michael Beasley from a sprained ankle, while the Bulls were without leading-scorer Nikola Mirotic (17.4 PPG)—much to Clyde Frazier’s glee—and carrying a string of woeful defensive performances.

So, yes, this loss was literally inexcusable.

The Knicks came out sluggish on defense, especially in transition (they were outscored 22-5 in fast break points overall). KP was clearly energized early-on either by the matchup with rookie Lauri Markkanen and/or the presence of Jen Selter (although he already won her All-Star Vote), and started hot with 10 early points, including this ferocious slam on Robin Lopez:

KP clearly got carried away with the matchup, though, and continued hoisting mostly bad shots, missing nine of his next 11 attempts, and seemed tired at times.

The rookie Markannen, on the other hand, was spectacular, tallying a career-high 33 points and displaying his impressive range (8-of-15 from three-point range). He also had a monster dunk of his own in the third quarter, victimizing Enes Kanter:

Then, the Knicks bench mob turned the tables. Beasley by poured in 16 points (6-of-7 from the field) in the second quarter (he would finished with a team-high 26), and even Ron Baker was banking threes and tossing dimes.

The Knicks lead remained the same after the third, but they surrendered it fewer than five minutes into the fourth quarter, putting every Knicks fan on edge after a season full of frustrating losses—two already at the hands of the Bulls.

As per usual, the Knicks reverted into their self-destructive habit of stagnant offense in close games for much of the fourth quarter and the overtime periods. Beasley carried them down the stretch, though, the Bulls missed some very make-able looks, and KP (momentarily) saved the game:

Things got even wilder in the first OT, with back-to-back Kristaps–Lauri threes followed by another KP rejection on the rook. After a David Nwaba layup, Jarrett Jack pulled a classic “veteran savvy” move and in-bounded the ball off Nwaba’s back to set up the tying bucket:

Even more remarkably, Jeff Hornacek followed that up by whipping up a doozy of a play to set up a buzzer-beating Porzingis slam to send the game into double-OT:

However, the Knicks were sloppy on both ends in the second overtime (an issue throughout the game), highlighted by Jack’s disastrous turnover on a horrid transition decision in the final minute, which was the opposite of “veteran savvy” and completely tarnished his triple-double (16-10-10). Beasley finally went cold, and this thrilling game ended anticlimactically for Knicks fans.

Some other notes:

  • Besides Markannen, Denzel Valentine, and Robin Lopez led the way for the Bulls with 20 points apiece, and Justin Holiday added 16.
  • Kris Dunn is really good on defense. He had five steals, resulting in Clyde describing his “kleptomania,” so that was fun to hear. Conversely, Frank Ntilikina struggled all night, especially with his passing, and looked hesitant to take on Dunn.
  • Both teams shot an excellent 45.5 percent from three, though, unsurprisingly, the Bulls (15-for-33) took and made more than the Knicks (10-of-22).
  • The Knicks utilized a big lineup with Beasley, KP, and Kanter/O’Quinn for long stretches with mixed results. Hornacek said the Knicks would go to this type of lineup, so expect to see more of it going forward.

Next up: The Knicks (19–22) head to Minnesota on Friday, and maybe Tim Hardaway Jr. returns!