This game looked to be dicey, as the Bulls played 4 overtimes the night before and had under 24 hours to head to NY and play the Knicks. The Knicks themselves also played last night, but it was zero overtimes and against zero legitimate NBA teams, so the Bulls were in for a tough one.
And while they started out the game on a 12-2 run, things quickly went awry and they were caught and surpassed by the Knicks. New York found themselves up 10 at the half and were entering the stretch eclipsing a 20 point lead before settling on a 107-91 win. Carmelo Anthony had maybe his best game against Jimmy Butler in his career, with 13 first quarter points and finishing with 27 on 12-20 shooting. Aaron Afflalo had 18 and Kirstaps Porzingis had a 10/7/3 line.
On the bright side, Joakim Noah looked spry, part of the Bulls good first stint and finishing with 21 points on 9-16 shooting and more dunks than he's seemingly had in a year.
This game was also notable for Bobby Portis getting significant non-garbagetime minutes, with Pau Gasol missing the game for rest (again, 4 OTs last night). Portis certainly wasn't shy putting up 18 shots in under 23 minutes, but he did get a double-double with 20 and 11. It wasn't causal by any means, but probably worth remembering that in a game where Bobby Portis plays a ton the Bulls lost to the Knicks by nearly twenty. He looked confident for a rookie but no better than the fifth best big. Well not tonight, because Mirotic disappeared (1-8 in under 25 minutes), but overall. And though while I won't clamor him for Portis to 'play more, because!' at the expense of someone better, it was downright smart stuff by the Bulls to sit Gasol in this back-to-back.
The defense was just not great tonight, and that can undoubtedly be factored to fatigue a bit, but also the Knicks hitting some contested shots. They did only shoot 5-20 from three but there were a lot of makes that had you shaking your head, but maybe that was just because the Knicks shouldn't be doing this to us damnit.
The Bulls get a nice schedule break with the Nets coming into town Monday and then no game until Friday, Christmas Day, against the Thunder