Shoulda Coulda Won. Chicago 109 NY 103

The Knicks played nip-and-tuck with the Bulls in Chicago on a Sunday night — NY’s 2nd game of a back-to-back and short-handed with Mitchell Robinson and Taj Gibson out. NY led 74-72 entering the 4th quarter and the game was 93-91 Chicago with 5 minutes left — but Chicago was able to pull out a win in those final 5 minutes.

1. Knicks Allowed Four 3’s at Start of 4th

Playing the 2nd game of a back-to-back on a Sunday night in Chicago, many felt the recently-struggling Knicks would have a hard time with the red-hot Bulls — especially with Robinson and  Gibson out. Yet the Knicks played well and hung with Chicago, and in fact led this game 74-68 late in the 3rd, and 74-72 entering the 4th quarter.

But Chicago jumped ahead in the 4th on three 3’s from the corner by Coby White, a 3 by Derrick Jones Jr, and the scoring of DeMar DeRozan. Still this was a 93-91 game, Chicago ahead, with 5 minutes left.

2. Barrett Terrible Shooting But Great D & Rebounding

RJ Barrett was in the middle of a terrible shooting game, but had been playing great defense on Zack LaVine all night — LaVine 5-18 from the floor for 11 pts midway thru the 4th. But in the last 5 minutes, Barrett switched to DeRozan, and LaVine was able to score multiple times on Derrick Rose (a jumper and a drive), or get to the line where he went 6-6; and that was the difference down the stretch.

Barrett finished with 2-12 shooting (0-2 from 3) for 9 pts but had 15 rebounds and a +6.

LaVine was 5-18 with  finished 7-20 (0-5 from 3) for 21 pts but a -8.

DeRozan killed the Knicks all night — 10-20 shooting (2-2 from 3; 9-9 from the free throw line) for 31 points.

2. Randle Carries Knicks

Julius Randle was a tour de force all night with 34 pts on 13-19 shooting and 10 rebounds, 3 assists.

Nerlens Noel didn’t have an exceptionally great game, and with Robinson and Gibson out — Randle and Barrett did the lion’s work on the boards for NY.

3. Toppin, Quickley, Burks Provide Strong Bench Play

The Knicks took the lead in the 3rd because of the strong play of their bench — especially Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley, and Alec Burks.

Toppin had 10 pts on 3-5 shooting (2-3 from 3) in 13 minutes; Burks had 13 pts in 29 minutes on 3-6 shooting, and Quickley had 12 points on 4-11 shooting but was 1-8 from 3.

Alex Caruso played especially great defense throughout the game.

The Boxscore

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