All streaks have to end at some point, right? The New York Knicks lost 118-111 to the Chicago Bulls tonight in overtime, in a hard-fought back and forth battle. It was disappointing because the Knicks coughed up multiple big leads and had a good look to end the game in regulation. They were also forced to watch Nate Robinson prance around to the tune of 35 points and act like he just won the NBA Championship. Regardless, all tonight’s win did was make it more likely that the Bulls will be the #5 seed, meaning if the Knicks can hold down to their 2 game lead over Indiana, that they won’t be crossing Chicago’s path in the playoffs.
The Knicks came out on fire, racking up a quick 23-6 lead yet by the end of the first quarter, the Bulls had cut it down to 7 and then down to 5 before the half. There were plenty of spurts where the Knicks lack of depth and size became apparent. Carmelo Anthony did tremendous work down low, finishing with an eye-opening 19 rebounds to go with his 36 points and Chris Copeland played relatively well with 14 points and 5 rebounds but they clearly missed Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin.
A hot start to the third quarter had the Knicks lead back up to 15 but the Bulls basically took over from the midway point of the third. After falling down by 7 in the final minutes of the 4th quarter, the Knicks scrapped back to tie the game and get the ball back with 1.5 seconds left. They inbounded and got a terrific look for Anthony from about 18 feet, which he just missed. In overtime, the Knicks were clearly gassed and quickly fell behind in too big of a hole to dig themselves out of.
Chicago has a way of forcing the Knicks to lose their composure. Anthony and JR Smith both received technical fouls tonight. The flow of the offense was lost down the stretch in the second half and neither Anthony or Smith shot for a strong percentage. Jason Kidd and Steve Novak were a combined 0-5 from the field (all three point attempts) and the Knicks couldn’t find that extra boost of offense needed to cover for their poor shooting.
It is important the Knicks quickly shake this off and don’t have a let-down in Cleveland tomorrow night. The magic number for the 2 seed is still at 3 games and if they win tomorrow coupled with an Indiana loss to Brooklyn, they could be in position to wrap up the #2 seed with a victory over the Pacers at home on Sunday.