Knicks Amp Defense at End to Take It. NY 116 Chicago 100

Julius Randle powers Knicks to win over Bulls with 35 points. Photo courtesy NY Knicks.

The game was 93-91 NY with 8:29 left after Andre Drummond scored inside when Tom Thibodeau called a timeout and brought OG Anunoby and Isaiah Hartenstein back into the game.

The Knicks got serious, CLAMPED down the defense, and proceeded to blow the Bulls off the court, outscoring them 23-9 from there on out.

Final score: NY 116 Chicago 100.

Julius Randle was dominant with 35 points. Jalen Brunson played at his usual All Star level with 31 points. Isaiah Hartenstein BEASTED with 10 pts, 20 rebounds, and 5 blocks. OG Anunoby was the missing piece in the 4th quarter — playing tremendous defense and so well off the ball on offense, adding to the heads-up off-the-ball game of Josh Hart and Donte DiVincenzo.

“They’re very good at turning people over; real active steal-strip team,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “I thought we were trying to thread the needle on passes.  Turnovers put them in the open floor; gave them a lot of confidence. DeRozan is a lot to deal with.”

“We played better in the 2nd half,” added Thibodeau. “Just hit the open man. Then our defense took over. We started making simple plays, and when we do that, we’re pretty good offensively.”

NY improves to 19-15; Chicago falls to 15-21.

1. Knicks Jump Out to Early Lead

The Knicks jumped out to a 7-0 lead and led 21-13 midway thru the 1st quarter, with Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson doing much of the scoring.

NY looked like it was going to cruise.

But the Knicks started to turn the ball over and DeMar DeRozan started putting up points for Chicago, and then Coby White started hitting 3’s. NY only led 26-24 at the end of the 1st quarter.

2. Knick Turnovers; Chicago 3’s Give ‘Em Halftime Lead

The 2nd quarter was more of the same — Knick turnovers, and Chicago 3’s. NY turned the ball over 13 times in the 1st half. DeRozan was on his way to 28 pts on 10-13 shooting (3-4 from 3). Coby White was on his way to 26 pts on 9-19 shooting (6-9 from 3).

Andre Drummond was pulling down boards and adding to the scoring inside — he’d finish with 13 pts and 16 rebounds.

And Alex Caruso was being his pesky, heads-up self — he’d finish with 13 pts on 6-13 shooting (2-8 from 3).

Chicago pulled out to a 45-37 lead midway thru the 2nd quarter, and took a 54-44 lead with 2 minutes left.

A Brunson 3 and Randle free throws and a drive pulled the Knicks back to within 55-51 at the half.

3. NY Pulls Back Ahead in 3rd

The Knicks took control out of the half — intensifying their defense and getting into the open court. Hartenstein owned the boards and provided an Aegis wall of defense.

“Isaiah Hartenstein doesn’t need plays called for him or many touches but just watch his huge impact,” said NBA Analyst Ross Kreines. “He outworks you on both backboards, gets every 50/50 ball because he wants it more, provides rim protection, sets screens that create space for others and takes zero play for granted.”

Randle finished on drive after drive and when he wasn’t scoring Brunson, Anunoby, or Hart were.

NY pulled out to an 86-78 lead at the end of the quarter.

4. The Knick Blowout Finish

Chicago would not go away. Coby White hit two 3’s early in the 4th, sandwiching an inside score by Drummond and Chicago was back within 88-86.

The game went back and forth until Drummond made a score inside to make it 93-91 NY with 8:09 left — and the Thibodeau timeout.

And then — out of the timeout:

  • Jalen Brunson with a drive,
  • Anunoby with a steal for an ahead-of-the-field Julius Randle dunk,

  • And then the play of the game — the Knicks RELENTLESS — Brunson missed a 3 but Hartenstein grabbed the offensive rebound, got it to Josh Hart who missed a 3, but Hart got his own offensive rebound, fed Randle for a 3 but he missed — but OG Anunoby grabbed the offensive rebound and dunked. NY 99 Chicago 91 with 7 minutes left. Chicago Timeout.

The timeout was futile — the Knick defense was in high gear. Brunson and Randle took over offensively down the stretch and the Knicks rolled to the blowout win.

The Boxscore


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