When the Chicago Bulls hosted the New York Knicks at the United Center on December 8, it would be their fourth game in five nights. The Bulls were coming off a 108-104 victory over the Detroit Pistons, while the Knicks had soundly defeated the Miami Heat 112 a few nights ago with their top scorer Carmelo Anthony out of the lineup due to a finger laceration. Chicago was seeking its first three-game winning streak of the season and the Knicks were looking to extend their current winning streak to six games. With both teams missing key players, it would be interesting to see which club would make the big plays down the stretch.
In a grind-it-out, defensive-oriented game, the Bulls defeated the Knicks 93-85. Not only were the Bulls without the services of Rip Hamilton, who could be sidelined for a month, the Bulls also lost Taj Gibson (ejected in second quarter) and Kirk Hinrich (elbow injury). Despite the absence of four key players, the Bulls had one of their best defensive performances of the season. They limited the Knicks to just 32 percent shooting from the field and they forced 15 turnovers, a season-high for the Knicks. It should also be noted that the Knicks’ 85 points was their lowest scoring output of the season.
The Bulls have received solid contributions from multiple players in their two previous wins and the victory over the Knicks was no exception. Luol Deng paced Chicago’s offensive attack with 22 points and five rebounds. Marco Belinelli also chipped in with 22 points in 45 minutes of action, raising his scoring average to 20 points per game over his last three outings. Joakim Noah, who had a monster game against the Pistons (30 points, 23 rebounds, six assists), scored 10 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, but also turned the ball over nine times.
Final Fan Analysis:
The victory over the Knicks was a key one for the Bulls because it gives the club their first three-game winning streak and it marked their first win against a quality opponent. Next up, the Bulls will host the Los Angeles Clippers on December 11. The last time these two teams squared off, the Clippers broke the game open with a 35-25 scoring edge in the second quarter and cruised to a 101-80 victory. Now that the Bulls are starting to play better defensively, this should be more of a competitive match-up the second time around.
James Tillman III is a resident of the Chicago-land area, who has followed the Bulls since the 1987-1988 season. James is also a Featured Sports Contributor for Yahoo! Contributor Network and a Sports Journalist for Sports Rantz Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @jtillman9693
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Rapid Reaction: Bulls 93 Knicks 85 – Nick Friedell ESPN Chicago