Bulls rally in victory over Knicks | Inquirer Sports

Bulls rally in victory over Knicks

05:12 PM December 28, 2017

Kristaps Porzingis #6 of the New York Knicks moves against Nikola Mirotic #44 of the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on December 27, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images/AFP

CHICAGO, Illinois—The Chicago Bulls struggled for long stretches. They looked fatigued at times on the second night of back-to-back games. And they found a way to win anyway.

Kris Dunn scored 17 points, including two clutch free throws in the final seconds, and the surging Bulls rallied to beat the New York Knicks 92-87 on Wednesday.

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Chicago trailed by as many as 15 in the first half, but shut down New York down the stretch of its ninth win in 11 games. The Knicks managed just three points in the final 5 1/2 minutes.

Lauri Markkanen scored 12 points for the Bulls (12-22), who were coming off a 115-106 win at Milwaukee. Justin Holiday and Robin Lopez had 11 points apiece.

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“I did think we hung in there,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “We spent a lot of energy (Tuesday) night. I don’t think we came out with great energy, our focus wasn’t great, we were turning the ball over. We did things we had not been doing.”

Kristaps Porzingis led the Knicks with 23 points, and Courtney Lee had 17. New York (17-17) has dropped three straight.

Porzingis, guarded mostly by Markkanen, was shut out after he made a jumper with 6:58 left.

“We got content to walking it up the court,” New York coach Jeff Hornacek said. “We weren’t able to get into easy early stuff. Instead we were setting up, they were switching and we were spending too much time looking for KP and then the shot clock would start going down.”

The Knicks led for most of the night before Holiday hit a corner 3-pointer that tied it at 86 with 3:01 left.

Neither team scored for the next two-plus minutes before Dunn found Markkanen ahead of the field for a dunk.

New York’s Jarrett Jack was fouled with 8.5 seconds left and had a chance to tie it, but converted just 1 of 2 free throws. Dunn was fouled with 7.8 seconds to go and made both for a 90-87 lead.

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Following a timeout, Enes Kanter’s 3-point attempt missed badly and bounced out of bounds. Holiday then iced the game with a pair of free throws.

The Bulls posted a 104-102 victory in the first meeting between the teams on Dec. 9 at the United Center, with Dunn hitting a pair of free throws with 2.9 seconds left.

“There are gonna be games that are ugly, but it all comes down to stops,” Dunn said. “We take pride in our defensive stops. I think we’re very resilient.”

Chicago forward Nikola Mirotic was held to just four points. He averaged 18.5 points in the previous 10 games.

New York rookie Frank Ntilikina has had Thursday night’s game at San Antonio circled since the schedule came out. It will be his first opportunity to meet countryman Tony Parker.

“He’s the best French player in history, so it’s going to be challenging to play against him,” Ntilikina said.

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