The Bulls Thursday were ailing and felt sick with a 104-89 loss to the New York Knicks.
It was the Bulls third consecutive loss after three straight wins as they reach the halfway mark of the season at home Saturday against New Orleans.
The Bulls were led by Dwyane Wade with 22 points. Jerian Grant had 14 points, Cristiano Felicio 13, Taj Gibson 12 and Robin Lopez 10. The Knicks were led by Carmelo Anthony with 23. Mindaugas Kuzminskas had 19, Derrick Rose had 17 and Joakim Noah had 12 points and 15 rebounds with nine offensive rebounds. The Knicks had a 47-43 rebounding edge.
The shorthanded Bulls fell to 19-21 while the Knicks improved to 18-22 as both teams fight to get into the top eight in the Eastern Conference.
Another day, another new Bulls lineup with rookie Denzel Valentine after morning practice suddenly coming down with the illness sweeping the team. He remained back at the team hotel with Jimmy Butler and Nikola Mirotic back in Chicago with the flu. So the Bulls had fellow rookie Paul Zipser with a surprise start at small forward with Doug McDermott moving back to the bench. Wade returned from missing the Washington game with rest. It was the second game against the Knicks and former Bulls Rose and Noah. Rose had a quick start, forcing Michael Carter-Williams out early with two fouls and scoring eight first quarter points as the Knicks took a 19-12 lead. Gibson got a technical foul after backing down and scoring over old buddy Joakim Noah and then seeming to taunt Noah about the macho matchup. Letting him known the student has become the teacher. The Bulls scored had an 8-2 close to the quarter with clever play from Felicio to trail 24-22 after one. The Knicks surged ahead early in the second quarter behind a pair of threes from another former Bull, Justin Holiday, for a 34-26 lead with 8:20 left in the half. The Bulls came back within 34-32 midway through the quarter with Jerian Grant and Michael Carter-Williams setting one another up for scores. The Bulls then took their first lead of the game to close to a 10-0 run at 36-34 on Zipser free throws. Anthony then scored seven straight Knicks points in the second quarter back and forth that included a Rose driving three-point play and a pair of Rondo jump shot scores. The Knicks led 54-51 at halftime. Rose had 15 for New York and Anthony 14. Lopez had 10 and former Knicks Grant eight points.
The Knicks pushed ahead to a 68-57 lead midway through the third quarter with Noah getting a pair of put back baskets on Rose drives and Anthony with jumpers. The Knicks extended their lead to 74-61 late in the quarter as the Bulls offense slowed and the Knicks took advantage with the pick and roll to Kyle O’Quinn. With a Rose driving score, the Knicks closed the third quarter leading 76-65. Wade kept the Bulls within reach with eight third quarter points while the rest of the team shot two of 16 for the quarter. The Knicks got a Brandon Jennings three to open the fourth and held onto an 84-71 lead with nine minutes left to go in the game with Wade trying to match the Knicks in the fourth. Noah again had another big game against the Bulls, rolling in for a dunk to make it 90-78 and then again to make it 94-82. Noah had 16 points and nine rebounds in the Knicks win in Chicago in November.