The Bulls Saturday against the Knicks gave it most of what they had left after a four overtime loss Friday for about six minutes. But the Knicks then took control and dominated throughout in a runaway 107-91 victory.
The Bulls limited playing time for Derrick Rose with Pau Gasol not making the trip to rest. But Doug McDermott didn’t return with a sore knee after playing 10 scoreless first half minutes and the Bulls played much of the second half with reserves.
It wasn’t enough as Joakim Noah starting his first game of the season led the Bulls with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Derrick Rose had six points in 21 minutes and the starters other than Jimmy Butler all played fewer than 30 minutes after the team arrived in New York after 4 a.m. from the overtime.
Rookie Bobby Portis in his first significant playing time of the season had 20 points and 11 rebounds and a closing running slam dunk.
The Bulls fell to 15-10 and host the Nets Monday. The Knicks are 14-14. Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 27 points.
From a Bulls team many often have wondered this season what they’d see, this was a game with more uncertainty for good reason after the four overtime loss to the Pistons Friday. Pau Gasol remained back in Chicago to rest, so Joakim Noah got his first start of the season. Plus, rookie Bobby Portis saw his first regular rotation time, mostly backing up Noah at center and later playing some with Noah. The Bulls got off to a surprisingly quick start, taking a 12-2 lead and forcing the Knicks into an early timeout. The Bulls kept the momentum going midway through the first quarter ahead 16-9.
But the reserves, most of whom had not played in the four overtimes, were missing shots as they were zero for five the rest of the first. The Knicks went on a 13-0 run as the Bulls scored one field goal in the last 5:30 and trailed 25-18 after one quarter. Noah was energized with 13 first half points and six rebounds and a full court burst with a rebound and dunk finish that took four seconds late in the second quarter. But the Bulls could not get many other feet going as the Knicks went ahead 39-26 and held a 49-39 halftime lead.
Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic were a combined one of nine in the first half and the Knicks had 10 offensive rebounds. Portis had four points and six rebounds in seven minutes with appealing activity. Carmelo Anthony had 19 in the first half. The Bulls’ best perimeter defenders in Butler and Tony Snell couldn’t handled Anthony and Arron Afflalo after halftime as the Knicks moved out to a 63-49 lead.
But the Bulls got a boost with Noah banging in a 14 footer in a rare jump shot attempt, and then Portis gave the Bulls a lift to close the third quarter with a hard driving score and a pair of three pointers. That gave Portis 12 points and six rebounds in 11 minutes through three quarters as the Bulls pulled within 77-68 heading into the fourth quarter. The Bulls made a bit of a move after the Knicks scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter to lead 85-68. Aaron Brooks and Portis got the Bulls back within 91-79, but the Knicks pulled away again and it never was truly close.