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Bulls rout Knicks in season opener
NEW YORK – Taj Gibson with 22 points and eight rebounds led a balanced attack as the visiting Bulls defeated the New York Knicks 104-80 in the regular season opener for both teams on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.
Pau Gasol finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds, while Derrick Rose with 13 points and five assists in 21 minutes was among the six Bulls to hit double figures.
Chicago shot 50.7 percent from the field while limiting New York to 36.5 percent.
Though the Knicks jumped out to an 8-2 lead and the Bulls were plagued by poor shooting and turnovers early, those trends did not last. Reserves Aaron Brooks, Gibson and Doug McDermott were in the lineup as Chicago closed out the opening frame with an 8-0 run to claim a 24-20 advantage.
The Bulls extended their lead in the second quarter behind the efforts of the second unit, led by Brooks (nine points on four of five shooting in his first nine minutes) and Gibson (11 points on five of six from the field in his first 11 minutes).
It was 53-43 at the half but Chicago was determined not to let New York back in the game. The Bulls outscored the Knicks 31-17 in the third quarter to take an 84-60 edge into the final frame and then opened the fourth with a 14-5 run as their lead ballooned to as much as 35.
Chicago was without Jimmy Butler, who missed the game with a left thumb sprain.
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 14 points, while Amar'e Stoudemire added 12.
The Bulls will be back in action on Friday when they host LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers at the United Center.