By Richard Kagan
The Chicago Bulls nearly gave this game to the New York Knicks.
The Bulls collected themselves and got the big free-throws from Kevin Dunn with 2.9 seconds remaining, to break the 102-102 tie. The Bulls prevailed and notched its second win in a row with the W over the Knicks, who have one of the worst road records in the League. The Knicks have won just one game away from Madison Square Garden. It looked like they might get two after a composed late fourth quarter rally when New York came back from a 102-92 deficit to tie the game.
Kristaps Porzingis made a basket with :03 seconds left to give the Knicks with a chance to win on the road. His shot tied the game at 102-all. The Bulls called a timeout and out of that timeout, the Bulls had Kevin Dunn drive to the hoop. He was fouled by Courtney Lee who was visibly upset with the call. Dunn calmly sunk two free-throws to give the Bulls a 104-102 lead.
Chicago (5-20) held on when Porzingis’ three point shot missed just before the buzzer.
Yes, Bulls win! It’s a statement that has not come that frequently for this rebuilding team. One important piece, Niko Mirotic scored 19 points in his first home game after missing 20+ games with a concussion and broken bones in his face due to a fight with Bobby Portis, a teammate. Saturday night they were on the same court but you couldn’t tell that they made up.
What was noteworthy was Mirotic had a good game. Dunn had a solid game at point-guard, with 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 9 assists. He also had 3 steals and 3 turnovers. But he is getting court-time, something that didn’t happen much his rookie season and he is developing into an NBA player with an upside. Reserve David Nwaba had 15 points and bought great energy while he was on the court. Forward Lauri Markkanen had 15 points as well. Chicago shot 51% for the game, one of its highest percentages of the season.
New York was led by Porzingas with 23 points, Courtney Lee had 14 points, an ex-Bull Doug McDermott scored 10 points. Six Knicks scored in double-figures, but it wasn’t enough.
Chicago missed 10 free-throw shots, allowing the Knicks to roar back into the game. Bulls went 13-23 in the game.