WHAT IT MEANS: Mike Woodson told his team that Tuesday's game in Chicago would be tough with or without Derrick Rose.
Turns out, he was dead right.
With Rose out due to a right ankle injury, Chicago was still Chicago -- tough on the defensive end and grinding it out on offense.
They did both to near perfection in a 98-86 win over the Knicks.
The loss was costly for Woodson's crew.
New York (29-28) is now a game back of Philadelphia for seventh place in the Eastern Conference. They are just one game ahead of ninth-place Milwaukee in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. The Knicks play the Bucks in Milwaukee on Wednesday night in a game that'll be crucial to their playoff hopes (see below).
THE BAD: The Knicks were battered on the boards for the second straight game in Chicago.
They were outrebounded, 51-33 (27-16 on the offensive boards).
It led to a dominant edge on both second-chance points (25-5) and points in the paint (40-28) for the Bulls.
In their March 12 loss at the United Center, New York was outrebounded, 56-38, including a 22-9 edge on the offensive glass.
COLD STRETCHES: The Knicks suffered through several costly cold stretches on Tuesday. They missed ten of their first 11 shots in the second quarter, squandering a lead. They ended being outscored, 25-10 in the quarter. They also made just two field goals in a nearly eight-minute span in the third quarter, falling behind by 10 entering the fourth.
ONE-MAN SHOW: Too often on Tuesday, it was Carmelo Anthony or bust for the Knicks. Anthony had 29 points on 11-for-19 shooting but his teammates didn't do enough in a supporting role. The next-highest scorer was J.R. Smith with 14 points.
Finding a consistent secondary scorer has been an issue for the Knicks. On Sunday, Anthony bailed them out with a 43-point performance. Didn't happen on Tuesday.
RIPPED APART: Rip Hamilton dominated the Knicks in the third quarter, going off for 18 points in the quarter. He went 6-for-10 from the field and got to the free-throw line seven times, hitting five attempts. He finished the game with 21 points.
THE GOOD:Iman Shumpert chipped in 12 points. Tyson Chandler had 15 rebounds.
BOLD PLAY OF THE GAME: With 3:32 to go in the first quarter, Shumpert found Baron Davis for an alley-oop. Instead of laying the ball up, Davis hit a trailing Anthony with a pretty touch pass and Anthony converted the layup, part of the Knicks' 18-7 run in the opening quarter.
WHAT'S NEXT: A pivotal game for the Knicks. They take on Milwaukee in Milwaukee Wednesday night. The teams are separated by just one game in the race for eighth place in the Eastern Conference (New York leads). The Bucks are in ninth. A win gives the Knicks the season tiebreaker, based on head-to-head matchups.
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