Rapid Reaction: Knicks 100, Bulls 89

NEW YORK -- Maybe if they’d given this kind of effort earlier in the season, the New York Knicks would be in the playoffs and head coach Mike Woodson’s job would be safe.

A night after being eliminated from playoff contention, New York beat a Bulls team still fighting for playoff seeding, 100-89, at Madison Square Garden.

The Knicks were down early but outscored the Bulls by a total of 16 points in the second and third quarters to open up a double-digit lead.

Chicago closed the gap to six with three minutes to play in the fourth but could cut it further, thanks in part to five straight missed field goals.

The Knicks improved to 35-45 and have won 14 of 19. But the late surge wasn’t enough to catch the Atlanta Hawks, who clinched the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference with a win over Miami on Saturday night.

Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith had 17 points apiece. Tim Hardaway Jr. added 20 off the bench and Raymond Felton poured in 14. Tyson Chandler had 12 rebounds in 30 minutes. The Knicks outscored the Bulls by 10 when Chandler was on the floor.

Youth movement? Anthony started and played 28 minutes. His status for the final two games of the regular season is unknown at this point. He has been playing with a shoulder injury for the past 10 games and may sit out the rest of the season. Woodson said the decision to play will be up to Anthony.

Woodson also said before the game that he would take the final games of the season to look at the younger players on the roster such as Cole Aldrich, Jeremy Tyler and Toure' Murry.

Aldrich played 18 minutes but Tyler and Murry didn’t get in until the final minute of the game.

Oh No: Bulls center Joakim Noah had a triple double the last time the Knicks and Bulls met. He nearly pulled off the feat again, finishing with 13 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. Noah, who went to high school in Brooklyn, heard MVP chants from a small pocket of fans at the Garden in the second half.

Outside of Noah, the Knicks mostly shut Chicago down, holding the team to 39 percent shooting. Jimmy Butler had a team-high 17.

What’s next: The Knicks will play the Nets in Brooklyn on Tuesday.

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