TrueHoop had a video out earlier today that statistically put the Bulls as performing around a 10-win team without Jimmy Butler. So with him still out with the flu, and taking down Nikola Mirotic and Denzel Valentine with him, not even seeing the death-spiraling Knicks was enough to get a win. And with the Knicks themselves on a back-to-back with no Kristaps Porzingis, it was long stretches of boring+sloppy ball as well. The Bulls hung close in the first half but eventually faltered to a 104-89 defeat.
The Knicks were outplaying the Bulls for much of the first half if not for their turnovers, with 11 in that half leading to 16 Bulls points. The Bulls were led by Knicks castoffs Robin Lopez (10 first half points) and Jerian Grant (8 on 3-3 shooting). And coincidentally the Knicks had a couple threes from Bulls castoff Justin Holiday and were led by another: Derrick Rose.
Rose has looked pretty good in that first half. 15 points on only 8 FGA inc. this pretty finish at the end of the 2nd Q pic.twitter.com/54LSXzYSJp— Stephen Noh (@hungarianjordan) January 13, 2017
(don’t worry, Rose’s defense was still pretty bad)
It was a real stinker of a 3rd quarter, with neither team hitting in the first few minutes. But eventually the Knicks were able to get baskets while the Bulls stayed abysmal, shooting 5/22 for 14 points in the entire quarter. It also was the time where the deficit crept over double-digits. Brandon Jennings led off the 4th with a corner three to push their lead to 14.
A big lift for the Knicks came from Noah, who led an offensive rebounding performance that was absolutely crushing the Bulls. They were at an offensive rebound rate over 40% at one point in the second half and finished just under 32% It sometimes didn’t feel that bad because it was Noah tipping to nowhere, but enough found their way to teammates or in the basket. Joakim once again had one his better games of this season against his old team, finishing with 9 offensive boards (15 overall) and 12 points.
As for the Bulls, uh...there was this Dwyane Wade dunk:
Wade with the Thunder dunk, Lopez looks like awkward turtle from the bench. pic.twitter.com/J5Nmr5qDmM— Stephen Noh (@hungarianjordan) January 13, 2017
Wade had a fairly garbage first half with only 4 points, but for much of the 2nd half was the Bulls only scoring, as he finished with 22 for the game.
But while the Bulls kept from getting totally blown out (mostly due to getting their own offensive rebounding numbers up, and Felicio doing that and other fun things), there was just not enough scoring coupled with way too many leaks on defense. Every 2nd or 3rd defensive possession would result in an easy basket given up because somebody was out of place. Mindaugas Kuzminskas was a major beneficiary, with a career-high 19 points. Kyle O’Quinn also had nice production off the New York bench with 12 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Carmelo Anthony wasn’t brilliant but kept hitting baskets when the Bulls would go on a bit of a run, and wound up leading all scorers with 23.
Meanwhile, it was notable that Paul Zipser set all his career highs too because he led the Bulls with 34 minutes and started for some weird reason. It shows both how depleted the roster was, but also how Doug McDermott’s career is going. McDermott played only 17 minutes and didn’t make a shot, and has been totally useless since Butler got sick, a time where he’s needed most.