Photo Credit: Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports
LaVine Sinks Knicks In Double Overtime
Zach LaVine had his sights set on conquering Madison Square Garden on Monday night. Sure enough, he accomplished that feat. LaVine scored 10 of his career-high 41 points in overtime to lead the Chicago Bulls to a narrow 116-115 victory over the New York Knicks.
Throughout the game, Chicago and New York played sloppy basketball. The execution was often poor on offense, and players from both teams could use some tap dancing lessons. The amount of times players stepped out-of-bounds was alarming. If players knew how to tap dance like the late-great Gregory Hines, maybe there wouldn’t have been so many players stepping on the boundary.
Young Knicks struggle to make an impact early
Besides the players stepping on the boundary line habitually, the young Knicks struggled to perform. Mitchell Robinson and Frank Ntilikina combined for a total of 0 points on 0-of-8 shooting. Both players have shown promise this season, but against Chicago, Robinson and Ntilikina looked like G-League players. Allonzo Trier received his first career start due to the back injury of Tim Hardaway Jr., and he started the game off poorly.
Out the gates, Chicago crowded Trier whenever he had the ball. Trier couldn’t find space to operate on offense. As a result, Trier didn’t make his first field goal until the fourth quarter. Like most basketball players, all it takes is seeing one shot go in to get hot. After that basket, Trier was as hot as a furnace.
Trier and Dotson helped to keep the Knicks close late
Trier reeled off 11 points in the fourth, including a huge three to force the game into overtime. Overall, he scored 16 of his 21 points in the final period and overtime. In the first three quarters, there was a lack of production from the youthful Knicks. Luckily, Damyean Dotson helped pick up the slack.
As usual, Dotson played a solid game. He gave consistent production on offense, scoring 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting. Also, he provided good defense on LaVine through stretches. Unfortunately, LaVine was playing as a man possessed, and there was little Dotson could do to slow him down.
It was the LaVine show in the second overtime
In the first overtime, LaVine tied the game late with a floater to force a second overtime. From then on, it was the LaVine show. After Trier nailed a three to open the period, LaVine responded with two straight layups to give Chicago a one-point advantage. Despite LaVine’s will to put the game away, the Knicks kept battling back.
Immediately, Trier responded with a layup to regain the lead for the Knicks. LaVine turned over the ball on the following possession, and the Knicks had a chance to pull away. Dotson shot a deep two and missed, then he compounded his miss by fouling LaVine on a shot attempt. LaVine only made one free throw to tie the game at 113.
Enes Kanter tried to regain the lead for the Knicks with a midrange jumper but failed. LaVine took advantage of Kanter’s miss and drove hard to the basket to make an easy layup. At this point, it seemed like Chicago may have the game in the bag, but with 2.7 seconds left, Emmanuel Mudiay tied the game with a layup of his own. The Garden faithful had the place shaking after Mudiay’s basket. Sadly, LaVine put an end to the jubilation of the Garden crowd.
Off the inbounds pass, LaVine received the ball and went around a Robin Lopez pick. Dotson was taken out by the pick and LaVine had a wide open lane to the basket. As LaVine rose up for the layup, Mudiay fouled him with 0.2 seconds left. On the first free throw, LaVine made it and sealed the game for Chicago.
New York and Chicago player stats
Enes Kanter had a monster game off the bench. He led the Knicks in scoring, rebounds, and assists. His final numbers were 23 points, 24 rebounds, and 7 assists. Mudiay and Mario Hezonja also contributed with 16 and 15 points respectively. Noah Vonleh racked up another double-double. He finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
LaVine got some scoring help from second-year player Antonio Blakeney. Blakeney scored 17 points off the bench. Jabari Parker scored 15 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. Rookie Wendell Carter Jr. notched a double-double. He contributed with 11 points and 13 rebounds.
The battle of the point guards seem to be heating up
Ntilikina has been impressive for the most part, but his shooting slump along with Mudiay’s emergence may hurt his minutes. So far, David Fizdale has shown he isn’t afraid to bench players for not performing up to standard.
Earlier this season, Fizdale replaced Trey Burke, Lance Thomas, and Kanter in favor of Robinson, Vonleh, and Ntilikina. Nobody’s position is safe, and Ntilikina will have to play better if he wants to keep his spot in the starting lineup.
Kevin Knox returned from injury after missing seven games due to an ankle sprain. He played five minutes and only scored 2 points.