The Knicks hung in tight with Chicago through three quarters, with the score being tied going into the 4th. New York proceeded to self destruct on offense and the flood gates opened when Coby White heated up drilling 7 three pointers in the final quarter (most ever by a Chicago Bull) to ignite the Bulls to an 18 point win. RJ Barrett tried willing the Knicks to a win in this game, but foul trouble in the first half and lackluster defense from his peers in the 2nd half stopped him from taking over. Barrett finished with 9 assists, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, and 21 points shooting a solid 8-16 from the floor. Taj Gibson gave his typical effort and consistent play with 17 points and 5 rebounds on an efficient 8-10 from the field. Randle and Morris Sr. combined for 39 points, but shot a combined 34% and played subpar defense. Frank Ntilikina’s defense was tremendous as usual, but lacked the offensive aggression we had seen him show his last few starts, only scoring 3 points. The entire Knicks bench got pulverized while they were on the floor, being unable to stop Coby White, Thad Young, Ryan Arcidiacono, and Kris Dunn, who combined for 53 points while shooting 53% from the field.
Why The Knicks Lost
The Knicks shot a poor slash of 40.9%/31.3%/64.5% in this one which hurt a lot. Their perimeter defense, or lack thereof, was also notable thanks to the barrage of threes from White (7-11). The Knicks lacked effort and intensity in the 4th quarter, but Coach Fizdale made some questionable lineup decisions playing Dennis Smith Jr. 14 minutes where he picked up a plus-minus of -22. Fizdale also rolled out a lineup in the 4th that had Smith Jr., Trier, and Knox on the floor at the same time. Those are three of the Knicks worst defenders and they could not stop the Bulls when the Knicks were seeking to take the lead in the final quarter. New York committed 28 fouls, scored 6 less points in the paint than Chicago, and lost the battle of the boards (58-52). The Knicks did not take advantage of their size at all in this game.
Mitchell Robinson and Elfrid Payton should both be back soon to help strengthen the Knicks defense and rotations. New York must find a way to consistently offer 48 minutes of effort and defense night in and night out. Coach Fizdale’s days as the Knicks Head Coach appear to be numbered and if the Knicks players want him to stick around, they must turn in a tremendous effort Thursday night in the Garden against Kristaps Porzingis and the Dallas Mavericks.