HomeSportsKnicks retain Eastern Conference No. 2 with 120-119 overtime win over Bulls

Knicks retain Eastern Conference No. 2 with 120-119 overtime win over Bulls

In what can only be described as a fitting end to a magical Knicks season, New York earned their 50th win and the East’s second seed with a 120-119 overtime victory over the Chicago Bulls.

Jalen Brunson led the way with another virtuoso, scoring 40 points, securing eight rebounds and dishing out seven assists in the victory. Donte DiVincenzo added 25 points on five threes.

Chicago received significant contributions from DeMar DeRozan with 30-5-5, Nikola Vucevic with 29 points and 11 rebounds on 19 shots and Coby White scored 26 on 18 shots.

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Here are some takeaways…

– The game started off as an exciting affair. Vucevic went to work early on an open three, but the Knicks forced some early turnovers to easily create buckets of their own. DiVincenzo got off to a good start with 10 points, including a backdoor cut for a one-handed slam. New York led 18-14 midway through the period, but a pair of late scores from DeRozan cut the Knicks’ lead to 29-28 after one.

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– Chicago took control in the minutes Brunson sat. Slightly above the center mark, Jos Hart went down with a twisted ankle, but quickly emerged from the locker room to return to the bench. Brunson returned with Anunoby and led a small Knicks comeback to regain the advantage. Hart soon returned unfazed.

– DiVincenzo continued to cook, both on and off the ball, finishing the half with 17 points on 7-11 shooting from the field as the Knicks led 50-47. This was despite Brunson looking shaky in the first half, shooting 5-15 from the field for 12 points.

– The All-Star point guard quickly turned things around in the third quarter, scoring 10 points in the first four minutes of the second half. The Knicks failed to create much separation, with Vucevic repeatedly hitting back with old-school moves in the post. With the match tied at 64 midway through the third, neither team could find an edge. The Bulls took advantage of New York’s sloppiness and Hart’s foul trouble in the final minutes of the period to surge to an 82-76 lead in the fourth.

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– The Knicks tried to get Anunoby’s offense going with Brunson on the bench to start the final frame. He finished an and-one and hit a three, but the Bulls continually responded. Midway through the quarter, back-to-back McBride jumpers and big stops at the other end led to a Bojan Bogdanovic three the Bulls cut led to one, setting the Garden on fire.

With two down and four to go, Brunson caught an offensive rebound on the perimeter, drove and rose to an and-one banking mid-range jumper, once again taking the lead at the line. After some back and forth, the match was tied at 109 with 29 seconds left. Anunoby retired a DeRozan one-and-one, and Brunson missed a buzzer-beating game-winning attempt on the other end, setting up the same overtime.

– Brunson has dominated crunch time so far via his usual pick-and-roll and isolation attacks, but made strides in overtime with his passing. First a handoff gave DiVincenzo three, and then he found Precious Achiuwa for an open layup that goes up by four in the extra period. The Bulls wouldn’t go away, though. DeRozan finished an and-one to cut the Knicks lead to one with 43 seconds left.

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Brunson got a double at the other end and waved to DiVincenzo, whose missed layup was followed by Hart. After a quick Bulls two, the Knicks turned the ball over on the inbounds. DeRozan had one more chance to win, thanks to the swing-step against Achiuwa and help from DiVincenzo, who came up short.

Who was the MVP?



Upcoming schedule

The Knicks will play the winner of the Play-In Tournament matchup between the seventh seed Philadelphia 76ers and the eighth seed Miami Heat.

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