Knicks Return to MSG for Third Matchup Against Bulls
The Knicks shined in the late stages of Sunday’s tilt against the Mavericks to secure an extremely important road victory. After Dallas reeled off a 15-2 run to tie the game at 94-94 with 1:18 remaining in the contest, Jarrett Jack delivered a clutch floater in the lane to push New York on top. J.J. Barea missed an open 3-point attempt and Courtney Lee calmly connected on four free throws as the Knicks completed the 100-96 win to conclude the three-game road trip. Kristaps Porzingis led the road squad with 29 points and eight boards in the win. Kyle O’Quinn jumped off the pine to score 15 points and grab 11 rebounds, Enes Kanter hauled down 18 rebounds, and Frank Ntilikina registered seven points, seven rebounds, five assists, two blocks, and two steals in 25 minutes.
2. Michael Beasley missed Sunday’s contest due to a sprained ankle suffered in the overtime session in Miami on Friday night. He was limited in practice yesterday at MSG Training Center and is listed as questionable for tonight’s matchup against the Bulls. Tim Hardaway Jr. was a full participant in practice on Tuesday morning. The shooting guard expressed optimism after feeling no ill effects from the workouts. However, there is no specific timetable for Hardaway Jr.’s return to game action at this time.
3. Courtney Lee is in the midst of a noteworthy free throw streak. The 32-year old has drilled 43 straight free throws and is tied for second in franchise history behind Chris Duhon (44). He also leads the league in free throw percentage at 96.1 percent entering tonight’s contest.
4. The two games between the Knicks and Bulls have been separated by an average margin of 3.5 points. In the first matchup, Kris Dunn converted on two free throws with 2.9 seconds left in the game. On the next possession, Porzingis received a clean look from downtown but missed the attempt and New York fell 104-102. The second meeting also occurred in the Windy City and the Bulls surged in this rematch to take a three-point lead in the final seconds. Enes Kanter’s shot to tie the game fell short in the 92-87 defeat.
5. Since the win over the Knicks on December 28, Chicago has lost five of its last seven games. In the Bulls last two outings, the team has surrendered a combined 241 points to Indiana and Houston. In Monday’s loss, Nikola Mirotic did not suit up due to a stomach virus. Head coach Fred Hoiberg said Chicago’s leading scorer did travel with the team to New York but he is listed as questionable.