OG Is Back! But Hart Ejected. Knick Comeback Stalls in 4th. Chicago 108 NY 100

And just like that, OG Anunoby was back in uniform and by the 2nd half, playing well and looking like the always-in-right-place-at-right-time defender and opportunist off-the-ball scorer the Knicks have come to expect in his short stay with the team.

Unfortunately the Knicks got into a 19-point hole against the Bulls in the 1st half, and their comeback in the 2nd half fell short in the 4th. NY was hindered by losing Josh Hart to an inadvertent foul that was ruled a Flagrant-II early in the game, where his foot came up and kicked a Bull in the head.

Jalen Brunson was heroic, with 35 points and 11 assists, and Miles McBride (19 points), Isaiah Hartenstein, Anunoby, Mitchell Robinson, Donte DiVincenzo, and Bojan Bogdanovic all played well — but the Knicks seemed to run out of gas in the 4th.

“They got going early; we got back on our heels,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “I thought in the 2nd half we responded. But our rebounding wasn’t good enough; we were slow to the ball — that was probably the difference in the game.”

About Hart’s ejection, Thibs said, “They said they had to do it. He’s a key player, particularly when teams are loading up on Jalen. We can’t afford to do that. There’s a fine line. Josh has been terrific for us. But our margin of error is very tight right now. We have to get past any distractions. It’s a tough call, but it’s tougher to lose him. It is what it is; we have to learn from it.”

NY falls to 45-32, and remains tied for 4th with Orlando, who also lost, a game behind Cleveland, who also lost, and 2 games behind Milwaukee, who also lost. A missed opportunity. Chicago improves to 37-40 — they are fighting for home court in the playoff play-in.

1. Chicago Jumps Out to 12-Pt Lead in 1st Quarter

Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago’s 6’5 scoring guard and former 2nd round pick, started the game off with consecutive scores, and then Nikola Vucevic, Chicago’s 7′ scoring center, joined the scoring fray with drives and 3’s and Chicago got out to a 15-9 lead.

Knick fans were psyched to see OG Anunoby on the court — but he was rusty in the early going. Mitchell Robinson entered midway thru the 1st quarter, and looked like he had shaken the rust he had his first few games back from the ankle injury — Robinson looked very active.

2. Green Kills Knicks Off Bulls Bench; Hart Ejected

Then Javonte Green entered off the Chicago bench, and immediately started to kill the Knicks. The 30-year-old, 6’5 forward out of Radford College in Virginia was en route to a 25-pt performance on 11-14 shooting with 13 rebounds.

And then Green doubly killed the Knicks when he was accidentally kicked in the face while defending a Josh Hart drive with 34 seconds left in the 1st quarter, wherein Hart was falling off balance and his leg came up to counter his fall. The refs ruled it a Flagrant II — and Hart was ejected. Green made 2 free throws to put Chicago up 29-17 to end the quarter.

3. Chicago Up by 19 in 2nd Quarter

DeMar DeRozan joined the scoring, and Andre Drummond started to bang inside and get to the free throw line, where he made 4 of 6 free throws (despite a .480 lifetime FT percentage) as the Bulls climbed to a 19-point lead.

4. Knicks Outrebounded

Drummond is one of the great centers ever and only 30 years old — yet has become a complete afterthought in today’s NBA of 3-pt shooting. He is averaging 8.4 pts and 9.0 rebounds in 17 minutes a game this year for Chicago.

Chicago outrebounded the Knicks 57-38, and Drummond was a big reason why — pulling down 16 rebounds in 24 minutes. He has made his “bag” in the NBA but is currently making a ridiculously low $3.2 Million on a 1-year contract. Again he’s only 30 years old.

Vucevic and Green had 13 rebounds apiece to help Detroit to the huge rebounding advantage against the Knicks, who almost always out-rebound their opponent.

5. NY Gets Serious in the 3rd

NY was down by 16 points entering the 3rd, and down 18 points when Ayo Dosunmu hit a J to start the quarter but NY started to get serious.

  • Donte DiVincenzo hit a 3, then a drive on the next possession off a Brunson pass and NY was down 13.
  • Javonte Green kept getting buckets for Chicago, but an OG Anunoby 3 from the corner off a Brunson pass pulled NY to within 11.
  • An Anunoby DUNK and then a Miles McBride steal and sprint ahead of the court for a drive-and-1 pulled NY to within 10.

But Chicago started to answer with Demar DeRozan starting to heat up from mid range.

6. Knicks Run Out of Gas in 4th

DeRozan hit another J to start the 4th, and Drummond barreled in for a dunk to put Chicago up 9 again.

Jalen Brunson put the Knicks on his back — with drives and floaters and passes — but there was Javonte Green again with free throws off a drive, and then Drummond rolling inside again for an offensive tip in, and then DeRozan with another midrange J-and-1 and Chicago was up 12 with 7:55 left.

  • The Knicks reared back and made one more run — Anunoby with a corner 3, a Brunson drive, and a Hartenstein dunk of a brilliant Brunson pass for 6 straight points — NY down 99-92.
  • But there was DeRozan again for a midrange J.
  • A Brunson drive, then a Brunson drive-and-1 pulled NY to within 101-97 with 2:21 left.
  • But Javonte Green scored on a drive and Nikola Vucevic hit a 3 with a minute left for the ballgame.

Coulda used Hart. (And Julius Randle.)

The Boxscore



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