Just one night removed from a heartbreaking defeat in Philadelphia and without their standout second-year 7-footer, the Knicks showed some resiliency in a 104-89 bounce back win on Thursday night. With Porzingis sidelined, head coach Jeff Hornacek started Lance Thomas in the starting lineup and New York displayed a sense of urgency from the opening tip by jumping out to an 8-2 early lead. The Knicks expanded their three-point halftime lead in the third frame, outscoring the visiting Bulls 22-14.
Chicago cut the lead to nine late in the fourth quarter but New York withstood the run, held its ground, and secured a much-needed victory. The Bulls were shorthanded for the road contest as Jimmy Butler, Nikola Mirotic, and Denzel Valentine dealt with illnesses.
Knick of the Night:
Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose set the tone from the opening tip. In 33 minutes of court time, Anthony scored 23 points, shot 52.6 percent from the floor, grabbed nine boards, and dished six dimes. Rose posted 15 of his 17 points in the first half to provide the Knicks with a dynamic scoring threat early in the game.
Mindaugas Kuzminskas connected on 8-of-15 shots from the floor and 2-of-4 behind the arc for 19 points off the pine. Kyle O’Quinn registered a double-double and Joakim Noah beat his former team in a 12-point, 15-rebound performance.
News and Notes:
Porzingis continues to deal with a sore left Achilles. Hornacek said the medical staff will have to evaluate him on a daily basis to see if he’s available for future games. An MRI took place over a week ago when the big man was sidelined for three straight games.
The Knicks have preached the need for defensive improvement. Tonight, New York held Chicago to 39.8 shooting and Dwyane Wade was the only Bull to reach the 20-point mark. The Knicks also outscored the Bulls in the paint, won the battle on the glass, and only committed 12 turnovers in the win.
Following back-to-back games, the Knicks will have the day off to recover on Friday. Next up on the docket is back-to-back day games, starting in Toronto on Sunday and then a special MLK contest against the Hawks on Monday at 1 PM.