Thursday, April 11, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Bulls 118, Knicks 111 OT
By Jared Zwerling
WHAT IT MEANS: The Bulls snapped the Heat's 27-game winning streak, and they did the same to the Knicks' 13-game winning streak, fueled by former Knickerbockers guard Nate Robinson, who finished with 35 points in 33 minutes off the bench.
Losing only their second overtime game of the season, the Knicks were led by Carmelo Anthony, who extended his streak of 35-plus point performances to a franchise record six straight games. He had 36 points, but he did it on 13-for-34 shooting. His scoring sidekick, J.R. Smith, pitched in with 28 points off the bench.
TURNING POINTS: The Knicks built a 17-point lead midway through the first quarter, finishing the period with 30 points on five 3-pointers. From there, the Bulls clawed back in the game with their inside scoring, available because of the Knicks' small-ball lineups. The Bulls took over the lead at the start of the fourth quarter with a Richard Hamilton 3-pointer. And Robinson continued to sizzle, including in overtime.
But then Anthony checked back in with 8:37 remaining and, along with Smith, helped the Knicks climb back. Melo's two free throws in the closing seconds of the period tied the game at 105, but the Bulls pulled away in overtime.
KNICKS' GAME BALL GOES TO ... Smith. He sizzled in the first half with his trademark step-back jumper. Then after halftime and with his team struggling to hit 3-pointers, Smith attacked the basket. And he was effective. His aggressiveness was evident off the ball as well. In the fourth quarter, he had a monster one-handed putback dunk.
BOARD GAMES: No big guys, not a worry for Anthony and Smith, who combined for 33 rebounds (10 offensive). Anthony recorded his fifth double-double in his last eight games. For Smith, it was his third.
NEW CENTER OF ATTENTION: With all of the Knicks' frontcourt injuries, 6-foot-8 Chris Copeland started in the middle for the first time this season. In the first quarter, he hit two 3-pointers, but struggled a bit scoring in the low post against Carlos Boozer. He finished 4-for-14 from the field. But Copeland (14 points) made his offensive impact in another way, setting strong screens for Anthony and Felton to get open off the dribble.
On the defensive end, Copeland held his own against the bigger Boozer. He blocked Boozer in the first quarter. And then on the other end, he knocked down a 3. Copeland then had his second block of the game later in the period guarding Jimmy Butler. Cope also had five rebounds, two assists and one steal in 29 minutes.
WHAT'S NEXT: All-Star Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers on Friday at 7:30 p.m. Cleveland is 0-2 against the Knicks this season.