Bulls send Knicks to third straight loss
New York, NY – Luol Deng posted a season-high 33 points, and the Chicago Bulls held off New York, 108-101, despite the return of Knicks star Carmelo Anthony.
Carlos Boozer added 17 points and Richard Hamilton scored 14 for the Bulls, who never trailed and moved to 3-0 against the Knicks this season. Chicago, winners in four of its last five overall, also received 12 points apiece from Taj Gibson and Marco Belinelli.
"It was just a great team effort," remarked Chicago center Joakim Noah, who finished with nine points. "We came prepared and [Deng] played very well for us, but it was a team effort."
Anthony, who finished with 39 points on 14-of-32 shooting, was suspended for one game without pay by the NBA for confronting Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett following Monday's 102-96 loss at Madison Square Garden. The incident occurred in the arena tunnel, near the players' locker rooms, and in the parking garage. Anthony sat out Thursday's loss at Indiana.
New York, losers of a season-high three in a row, was never ahead. Tyson Chandler had nine points and 18 rebounds. J.R. Smith scored 13 in defeat.
"We struggled defensively and offensively," Chandler admitted. "We've had some rough starts. We have to do a better job of getting out of the gate."
The Bulls, who shot 57.4 percent on the night, held a 29-18 lead after the first quarter thanks to a poor shooting performance by the Knicks. The hosts went 6-of-23 in the opening 12 minutes.
A 16-6 spurt in the first stanza provided a 27-12 cushion. Deng had the final four points of the rally and finished it with a reverse layup.
Deng's 3-pointer widened the gap to 46-24 midway through the second quarter and Chicago held a 57-36 cushion at the half.
Belinelli's 3-pointer in the closing minute of the third moved the Bulls up 82-60, but the Knicks made one final surge late in the fourth. They were within 105-98 following two free throws from Anthony in the closing minute. Belinelli missed a layup, but the Knicks threw the ball away and Chicago sealed the outcome at the foul line.
Knicks center Marcus Camby is expected to be sidelined 2-to-4 weeks due to a left foot injury ... Chicago is 9-1 on the road against Eastern Conference opponents this season ... The Knicks shot 41.1 percent from the field.