By Max Marcilla
Knicks 111 Bulls 118
The Bulls cut the lead to as little as 2 at the end of the first half. However, the Knicks came out of the tunnel for the 2nd half with the same offensive and defensive intensity as they showed in the first six minutes.
With 4:13 left in the third quarter, the Knicks had their second largest lead of the night, a 15 point lead, as New York appeared like they were about to put the Bulls away, but then the turning point of the game happened.
The Knicks (who ended up with 7 total turnovers) turned the ball over on two straight possessions. The game was in the Knicks hands, when back-to-back steals by Jimmy Butler (ending in 2 dunks) gave the Bulls all the momentum, as the deficit shortened to 11. The Bulls, like a snowball down hill, picked up momentum and went on a run.
Nate Robinson took over in the fourth. Robinson, a former Knick, came off the bench and completely took over, scoring 35 points with 5 three pointers. One of those three point balls, Nate extended the Bulls lead to 7 and continued the on-going “feud” with Steve Novak, by imitating his signature “discount double check” about 7 or 8 times, leaving Knick fans in fury and Bulls faithful in a frenzy.
After Carmelo Anthony missed a potential game-winning jumper as time expired, the dreaded overtime period began. Right away the Knicks were in trouble. After the tip, Raymond Felton was lying on the ground in pain, as he came down wrong on his leg, clutching his knee. He stayed in the game, but the injury turned out to be the least of the Knicks problems.
In the overtime session, the Knicks allowed Robinson to take over, while on the other end of the floor they continuously forced up bad shots. In the end, the Bulls won 118-111. However it wasn’t all bad for the Knicks in the loss.
They did prove some things tonight. During the game, some stretches in the first, third and late in the fourth quarter, they proved they can knock down three’s at an exceptional rate. They showed us that even with Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin out due to injury, they could score in the paint. They ended up with 40 points in the paint, led by J.R Smith and Carmelo Anthony.
New York also proved that they could break a defensive team. Granted, they did have an extra period, but they scored 111 points on a team that is 3rd in the NBA in points allowed per game. Even in regulation, the Knicks scored 105 points.
However, there were just as many negatives. Even though New York did drive the ball and score a lot, they didn’t do it efficiently. Carmelo Anthony, who has had the best shooting stretch of his career, went ice cold, as he shot 38% from the field. He did drive, but he missed way too many lay-ups.
In addition to that, the Knicks ball movement often disappeared, as J.R Smith and Carmelo Anthony had to force shots in overtime. Not a single possession looked smooth and well plotted out, as the Knicks were firing up UFO’s. In fact, it seemed like the only way the Knicks could score in overtime was on a scoreboard error by the staff at the United Center.
The Knicks have to move on and get ready for tomorrow night’s game in Cleveland. If the Knicks can get healthy and keep their momentum going from the streak, they can very quickly get back to their 13 game winning streak form.