Bulls snap Knicks’ winning streak
Leave it to Tom Thibodeau’s vaunted defense to crash the Knicks’ 3-point party.
Marco Belinelli and Luol Deng scored 22 points apiece as the Chicago Bulls beat the Knicks 93-85 on Saturday night, snapping New York’s five-game winning streak.
Belinelli matched a career high by playing 45 minutes and sparked the Bulls at the outset with 15 points in the first quarter. Deng led the way at the end, getting 10 points in the fourth.
”I played a lot of minutes,” Belinelli said. ”We played great on offense and defense. … That’s the way we’ve got to play.”
Deng played 46:34 in the game, helping the Bulls (11-8) to their first three-game winning streak of the season.
”You just keep focusing in on getting a win,” Deng said. ”While the game is going on, you do not feel fatigue.”
Raymond Felton led the Knicks with 27 points, matching his season high set on Thursday in a victory at Miami. However, Felton was just 9 for 30 from the field, exceeding his career high for field-goal attempts by six shots.
”They took the 3s away, took my 3s away off the screen-and-roll, then they attacked the big (men),” Felton said. ”That’s why I took so many shots today. I normally don’t take that many shots.
”Probably haven’t taken 30 since high school.”
Tyson Chandler had 14 points and 18 rebounds for the Knicks, who shot a season-low 32.1 percent from the floor and matched a season high with 15 turnovers. It was also a season-low point total for New York (14-5).
”You have to give them credit, they played great defense coming down the stretch run,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. ”I thought they made the hustle plays that they needed to make in order to win the game, and we didn’t.”
New York, which averaged 13 makes and 33 attempts on 3s during its win streak, was held to 8 for 21 against Chicago, which has allowed the fewest 3-pointers in the league.
”Ain’t nothing they did that was so special, they just took away the 3s,” Felton said. ”I got inside the paint like I wanted to, but at the same time, they took away the 3s and didn’t let us get good shots.”
Carlos Boozer had 12 points and 10 rebounds for Chicago. One night after putting up career highs of 30 points and 23 rebounds in a win at Detroit, Noah just missed an odd triple-double, getting 10 points and 11 rebounds and committing a career-worst nine turnovers.
The Knicks again played without leading scorer Carmelo Anthony, who missed his second straight game because of stitches in the middle finger of his left hand. Anthony, who is third in the NBA with 26.4 points per game, was hurt in a win over Charlotte on Wednesday.
Former Knicks guard Nate Robinson had 14 points, six rebounds and eight assists off the bench for Chicago, which has won five of its last six and 18 of its last 21 at home against New York.
”It was a hard battle out there,” Noah said. ”I was really tired out there. I was tired, but it’s all worth it right now.”
Chandler’s free throws pulled New York within three with 1:56 left, but Belinelli hit a side jumper just inside the 3-point line. Then Belinelli fed Noah for a layup with 56 seconds left, putting Chicago up 89-82.
”I was ready to find (Noah) and other guys,” Belinelli said. ”I don’t want to be just a 3-point shooter. I want to be a complete player.”
Belinelli hit a 43-footer at the first-quarter buzzer sounded, putting Chicago up by three and giving him a 15-point quarter. The Bulls, who entered the game last in 3-pointers made and attempted, were 4 for 5 from behind the arc in the opening period and made a season-high seven 3s in the game.
Belinelli and Kirk Hinrich hit 3s during a 10-0 Chicago run after New York scored the first six points of the game. In a ragged start to the second quarter, the Knicks didn’t convert a field goal during the first 5:39 before J.R. Smith’s 3-pointer drew New York within 30-27.
After the Bulls pushed the lead to seven points, reserve Taj Gibson was ejected by official Derrick Stafford, drawing two quick technical fouls after being called for this third personal foul, a loose ball foul on the Knicks’ end.
”It’s an emotional game, but we have to do better with that,” Bulls coach Thibodeau said. ”When you get one, you have to let it go.”
Steve Novak converted both technical free throws, sparking a nine-point run to give New York the lead. The Bulls battled back and held a 43-41 edge at the break and maintained their two-point advantage through the third period.
NOTES: Anthony warmed up on the court before the game, then declared himself unable to play due to the difficulty he was having catching passes because of the bandage covering his injured finger. He said he hopes to return to action when the Knicks host Denver on Sunday. … Hinrich began the second half on the bench because of an injured left elbow and didn’t return. He’s listed as day-to-day.