The Bulls were down as many as 15 points in this game and didn’t have the lead for the majority of it, but outscored the Knicks in the 4th quarter 21-14 to come away with a 92-87 win, their 9th in 11 games since Nikola Mirotic’s return.
It was the second win in this run at home over the Knicks, who have been an abysmal road team all season and really was anemic down the stretch. New York didn’t score a field goal in the final 4:23, only getting a single point on a split pair of Jarrett Jack FTs with under a minute to play. The Bulls weren’t on fire in this time either, but were stout defensively and made enough plays to win, including a Lauri Markkanen steal on one late possession, and this finish from Lauri on a nice look-ahead pass from Kris Dunn.
The dunk that blew the roof off the UC: pic.twitter.com/ALDde0sCfm— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) December 28, 2017
Markkanen and Dunn weren’t great statistically in this game, the former going 5-15 for twelve points and the latter 6-18 for 17 points (Dunn missed several jumpers badly in the 4th), and even MVP candidate (who’s to say?) Mirotic had a paltry 4 points in 25 minutes. The Bulls had an eFG% of 46.5% in this one, and it’s tough to win that way...unless the opponent goes even lower at a shade below 43%. Kristaps Porzingis had a game-high 23 but took 22 shots to get there, having another nightmare 3-point performance at the UC going 1-6 from beyond the arc.
The Bulls get one day off before hosting the Pacers, who themselves lost to the Mavericks tonight so it can possibly be another closer than expected matchup, if you are still setting expectations based on our pre-Niko days.