Butler's career night leads Bulls over Knicks

Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Jimmy Butler scored a career-high 35 points and dished out seven assists to lead the Chicago Bulls to a 103-97 win over the New York Knicks on Thursday night.

Pau Gasol contributed 20 points with seven rebounds and Aaron Brooks added 18 points off the bench for Chicago, which played its ninth game of the season without star point guard Derrick Rose.

"I worked on everything, all aspects," Butler said of his game. "You know when my confidence is up and I'm out there smiling and just having fun, it's nothing. It's basketball."

Rose missed the contest with an illness and his status for Friday's game at Memphis is uncertain.

The Bulls, who improved to 5-4 without Rose this season, have won four of their last five games overall.

New York, meanwhile, was without leading scorer Carmelo Anthony, who missed the game to rest his sore left knee.

Tim Hardaway Jr. picked up the slack to lead the Knicks with 23 points, while Amar'e Stoudemire chipped in with 16 points and six rebounds. New York has lost seven straight at the United Center and three straight overall, as well as 13 of its last 14 games.

"Chicago is a good team, they understand how to play in these situations and they made more plays down the stretch," said Knicks coach Derek Fisher.

Pablo Prigioni hit a 3-pointer to give the visitors a 77-75 lead early in the fourth, then Chicago netted 12 straight to regain control. Brooks and Nikola Mirotic each hit a 3 to bookend the spurt that helped the Bulls to an 87-77 advantage with 7:30 to play.

New York responded, however, with a 12-3 run that brought it within one after Stoudemire's basket.

Chicago pushed the margin to five, then Stoudemire again made it a one-point game moments later with a jumper. Brooks followed with a crisp pass underneath to Gasol, who converted the layup for a 100-97 lead with 52.9 seconds left.

Joakim Noah, who missed the previous four games with a sprained right ankle, and Gasol each pulled down critical offensive rebounds in the closing seconds to secure the win for the Bulls.

Noah finished with a game-high 13 boards.

Chicago led by three late in the first when Brooks came off the bench and knocked down a 3-pointer that started a 9-2 run to end the quarter. Butler's jumper capped the burst and gave the Bulls a 30-20 lead entering the second.

New York held Chicago scoreless for just over three minutes in midway through the second, but it managed to trim the margin to just five after Jason Smith's free throw.

A Butler steal led to a Kirk Hinrich layup in transition that quelled the little drought. Hinrich then buried a trey before Mirotic dialed one in from deep to stretch the lead to 48-37 with 3:09 remaining in the half. Hardaway's putback late in the frame cut the deficit to 52-45 at the break.

The Knicks ended up grabbing a 74-73 edge at the end of three quarters.

Game Notes

Mirotic had 13 points in a reserve role for Chicago ... Cole Aldrich went for 13 points and 10 rebounds in the loss ... Butler's previous career high of 32 points came on Nov. 25 at Denver ... Bulls forward Taj Gibson also missed the game with an ankle injury.