The New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls were decked out in their black and orange jerseys in the spirit of Halloween, but the Knicks didn’t treat fans with a win, falling 82-81. Still, there was tons to take away from the game.
The Knicks hung around striking distance all night, and even took a slim lead in the fourth quarter, but were never able to get hot enough to prevent the Bulls from getting their first win of the season. Derrick Rose looked out of sorts for most of the night, finishing the game with four turnovers and shooting just 7-23 from the field, but made a tough, game-winning floater with 5.7 seconds left to go. New York fell a little behind early, but tightened up their defense in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter. A late game surge, led by Carmelo Anthony’s offense and anchored by Tyson Chandler’s defense, earned them a late game lead at 81-80, but the make by Rose proved to be the dagger when Melo missed a three-pointer as time was about to expire. Anthony finished the game with 22 points.
Neither team looked overly impressive in a matchup that featured generally sloppy play, as evidenced by a combined 33 turnovers and 40 personal fouls. You could tell in the first quarter that it was going to be a treacherous game to watch, as the Knicks shot 6-19 from the field and turned the ball over six times. Things like early team foul trouble and Amar’e Stoudemire dribbling the ball off of his foot made it seem like it was still preseason, but the Bulls never capitalized on the Knicks misfortunes, and also had some turnover problems of their own. The Knicks should have been getting run out of the building, but found themselves down only five at half.
New York’s defense really tightened up in the second half, and once the Knicks sured up their turnover deficiencies (no turnovers in the 3rd quarter), the offense followed in suit. Iman Shumpert was in foul trouble for most of the night, but Tim Hardaway Jr. filled in more than admirably. He finished with only 10 points in 26 minutes, but looked aggressive going to the hole, and even earned crunch-time minutes in J.R. Smith’s absence.
The Knicks didn’t get themselves in to a one possession game until 5:29 to go in the fourth. Chandler could have put the Knicks up by two with 10.8 seconds left, but missed the first of two free throws after being mauled by Joakim Noah on a loose ball. However, Tyson was not to be blamed for the Knicks loss. He was all over the boards, ending with 19 rebounds, and was also effective in protecting the rim, chipping in four blocks. That’s now nine blocks to go along with two made jumpers through two games for those of you counting at home.
For what it’s worth, Melo ended up with six steals, which has to be some sort of career-high. After a cold start, Bargnani finished the game with nine points, with all four of his field goals coming consecutively in the third quarter. He eventually succumbed to foul trouble, as was the theme with many Knicks players all night.
New York will look to get back on track at home against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday. Make sure to follow TOK to keep you updated with everything Knicks.