BULLS 104 KNICKS 99 | UNITED CENTER
How it happened:
In a heated and potential playoff matchup between the Knicks and the Bulls, one defining moment comes to mind when examining the Bulls' 104-99 victory on Monday night. At the six-minute mark of the final quarter and Chicago holding a narrow 87-84 lead, Derrick Rose sprinted to the lane and launched for a one-handed jam. The bucket provided the home team with a seven-point cushion, ignited the United Center crowd, and they never looked back in the hard fought contest.
One of the major factors in the game on Monday night was the rebounding disparity, especially on the offensive glass. The Bulls registered 22 offensive rebounds and 56 boards in the game. The constant attack for missed balls directly led to 24 second chance points for the East’s best team.
The Knicks showed some resiliency following the dreaded third quarter, which has plagued the team in several of the defeats during the losing skid. While Chicago jumped out to an 18-9 run to start the third period, negating New York’s two-point lead heading into the locker room, Amar'e Stoudemire kept the team from falling too far behind. Stoudemire scored 15 of his 20 points in the third while helping the Knicks remain in striking distance deep in the game.
This Eastern Conference battle featured some great action in the first half. New York fell into an early 8-3 hole before bouncing back on a 13-4 run that was punctuated by a Stoudemire dunk. Jeremy Lin made the highlight reel with an unexpected trailing swat off the glass on the league’s 2011 MVP, Derrick Rose. Tyson Chandler was active throughout the first period and took advantage of the foul trouble for the Bulls frontline. Boozer was sidelined with his second personal foul at the 6:42 mark of the first quarter. In his second game back from the short absence due to a strained hamstring, Chandler dominated the paint by squeezing through the lane on pick-and-roll action.
Both coaches were whistled for technical fouls in the first half after disputing calls on their point guards. Rose was visibly frustrated by the lack of fouls on his attempts near the rim.
The two teams face each other again in April, once at The Garden and once at United Center, for a total of 4 meetings this season.
The exciting contest featured 17 lead changes, 13 ties, and the largest lead never reached double figures.
Stoudemire caught fire in the third quarter and hit several perimeter jumpers over Joakim Noah. The big man found his groove by hitting 7-of-12 shots and connecting on 6-of-7 free throw attempts.
The Knicks concluded a back-to-back set tonight and will travel home to New York. With a day off on Tuesday, the squad will have a chance to rest for Wednesday’s matchup against the Blazers at Madison Square Garden.