After Sunday’s crushing loss in overtime, the Chicago Bulls were handed another gut punch as they again lost in overtime, 128-119, this time at home to the New York Knicks.
This was another game where the Bulls found themselves down double digits early, fought back to take a slight lead, only to still not get the end result they wanted. Down the stretch in regulation, the Bulls made several defensive stops including forcing a shot clock violation in the Knicks last try. However, the Bulls couldn’t replicate what the Hawks did to them earlier this week as a .7 second play designed as a Patrick Williams lob attempt at the rim clanked off the backboard.
In OT, the Bulls offense crashed, scoring just three points. Meanwhile the Knicks just kept hitting threes: Quentin Grimes hit a huge one off Randle penetration (there was a lot of this).
QUENTIN GRIMES IS CLUTCH— KNICKS ON MSG (@KnicksMSGN) December 15, 2022
GETS THE DELAYED BANG FROM MIKE BREEN pic.twitter.com/kgSzJoTVdg
and then Jalen Brunson, after crossing up Alex Caruso into the floor, splashed a shot right in front of Chicago’s bench to seal the game. Brunson made his homecoming worthwhile with 30 points and seven assists. Julius Randle had a double double of 31 and 13 while RJ Barrett had 22. The Knicks overall were a scorching 18 of 34 from the three point line.
The Bulls were also severely outplayed on the glass, giving up 15 offensive rebounds which led to multiple second chance points including several key moments in the 4th and overtime. As a team, the Bulls did certain things well, including great shooting from 2 point range and forced 15 turnovers by the Knicks. But they were once again outgunned from the 3-point line and couldn’t close, in the 4th + OT they went 1/7 from distance.
Once again, DeMar DeRozan led the comeback in the 4th (16 points in that frame alone), and led the Bulls in scoring with 32 points. As per usual he lived at the line going 16 of 17 from the charity stripe. Zach LaVine had 25 points and was clinical when getting to the rim in this game, but ultimately needed 23 shot attempts and struggled from three, hitting just two of his eight attempts. While his jump shot numbers need improvement, and he once again had a brutal turnover in overtime, it’s clear that LaVine has his burst back and it’s aiding him a ton when attacking the hoop.
Nikola Vucevic had 19 points and seven rebounds. He added two blocks and five assists. Yet the biggest concern was on the defensive end as Mitchell Robinson had six offensive rebounds. While it’s not all on Vucevic, it’s one of your primary roles on defense as a big man to help box out and secure missed shots.
Patrick Williams had 11 points and was solid defensively in this game. When the Bulls made their run in the second half, he was part of the group of players which sparked some life into the team. The case remains the same with Williams as he continues to grow defensively but questions still surround how good he can be on offense.
Alex Caruso was unsurprisingly a big part of the final Bulls surge as he was frequently switched on Randle and did a good job holding his own.
Coby White led the bench in scoring with 12 including two three-pointers, but the starters closed this game and played all of overtime.
This was another blow to a team that is currently spiraling. They had one step forward followed by multiple steps backwards. It’s tough to watch but there’s no pretending around it now in the fact that the Bulls don’t look like a playoff team at the moment. They still have time to turn it around but things look stagnant and a bit bleak. While there were some positives from this game at the end of the day it’s about wins and losses not development with this core of players.
Chicago has a chance at revenge against the Knicks in their next game on Friday.