DEFENSE. And a Blowout. NY 114 Chicago 91

In the second of back-to-back games both in Chicago, the Knicks BLEW OUT the Chicago Bulls in the 3rd and 4th quarters to sweep the 2-game ‘series’, winning this time 114-91. NY was up by 6 at the half, 13 at the end of 3 quarters, and rolled to a 30-point lead in the 4th before winning by 23.

After beating the Bulls in Overtime on Wednesday night in Chicago, crushing them on Friday night in Chicago was unexpected — but the result of the Knicks being clearly the better team — better DEFENSE and better interior game with Mitchell Robinson dominating in the offensive and defensive boards.

“I thought our defense — even though they shot a high percentage — I thought we had great activity,” said coach Tom Thibodeau. “We caused turnovers that got us into the open floor, easy buckets, we got to the line 30 times, and I also thought we created good rhythm to shoot 3’s. So we shot a good percentage from 3; but I loved our overall activity. They are a hard team to guard; they really are. With DeRozan, with what LaVine does and then Vucevic — those 3. And then the way the game started — Caruso hitting 3’s at the beginning of the game and Patrick Williams, a terrific all-around player — that team is hard to guard.”


1. Knick DEFENSE

The Knick DEFENSE was the star of the evening again — not only defensive Messers Quentin Grimes, Miles McBride and Immanuel Quickley in the backcourt, but a gloved-hand team defense that included RJ Barrett bodying DeMar DeRozan all evening, Jalen Brunson taking charges, Julius Randle harassing his man, and Mitchell Robinson negating anyone who got through all of that to the hole, and ripping down rebounds on both ends as well.

2. Robinson Dominated Over Bulls Interior

Chicago meanwhile, presented very little defense — and hardly any interior presence — as Barrett and Randle and Brunson took it to the rim all night — drawing the weak Chicago defense of Nikola Vucevic or the now seemingly ancient Andre Drummond — and scoring, drawing fouls, or whipping a pass outside for a 3.

The Knicks played with excellent ball movement, making the drives to the hoop harder to defend.

And if anyone missed or wasn’t fouled, Mitchell Robinson was ripping down the offensive rebound for another Knick possession.

Robinson dominated in the Defensive paint as well.

And when he was taking breaks, Isaiah Hartenstein and Jericho Sims provided their big bodies to take his place.

3. Barrett > DeRozan

RJ Barrett played a Strong game, taking it to the rim constantly and efficiently, and hitting his 3. He was 9-20 from the floor and 3-5 from 3 for a team-leading 27 points. He also defended DeMar DeRozan well, forcing DeRozan into a pedestrian 6-14 shooting night and 14 points. Barrett had a +28; DeRozan a -23.

The only trouble Barrett had was hitting his free throws — he was 6-11 on the evening.

4. Grimes > LaVine

Meanwhile Quentin Grimes took care of Zach LaVine, and then some. Grimes hit his 3 all night: 22 points on 6-10 shooting (5-9 from 3) while keeping LaVine in check (17 points on 7-12 shooting (3-5 from 3).

It was yet another unimpressive performance from LaVine — who gets his points — he’s a great shooter with infinite range and is a greyhound going to the rim — but mostly seemed to stand around outside; was not fully engaged; and did not constantly attack the rim and draw the D — like Barrett does.

Some of that was due to Grimes hounding him constantly; some of it is from the way LaVine plays; he goes on streaks, and if he’s not on a streak, mostly seems to stand around.

5. Brunson Hits His 3’s

Jalen Brunson lit the Chicago night on fire from 3 — hitting 6 three’s on the evening. He was 7-14 from the floor (6-9 from 3) for 22 points.

6. Rose Gets Ovation from Chicago Fans

With the Knicks up by 30 points and 5 minutes left in the game, coach Tom Thibodeau brought Derek Rose in — and Rose got a HUGE ovation as he made it up to the scorer’s table to come in. He got an even bigger ovation — everyone to their feet — as he entered the game — and then a roar from the crowd every time he touched the ball and took a shot, with chants of “MVP”. He took three 3’s, hitting one to a Huge ovation.

It was fun and heartfelt to see the Chicago fans give Rose such a huge ‘thank you’ on a dismal night for them.

“I asked him,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards when asked if Rose asked him to play. “I can’t say enough about Derrick. We have a long-standing relationship. And we have a lot with each other. Whatever role he’s been asked — whether he was MVP playing virtually every minute, to when I picked him up in Minnesota — I didn’t know what the role was gonna be, and he starred in that role.”

“Then he starred with us when we brought him to NY,” continued Thibodeau. “and he’s starring in the role that he’s in right now. I talk to him all the time; I want to know the way he sees the game; what his thoughts are; he sees things great; he’s been thru everything. He’s been great for our young guys. And I think it’s important to have the right veterans around our young guys. And so there’s nothing in this league he hasn’t seen — from being at the top of the mountain — to being hurt for 3 consecutive years to being through all kinds of things and then to bounce back and be the person that he is just says a lot about him, so I was happy for him.”

The Boxscore



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