In Madison Square Garden, the Knicks fans were ready to cheer and boast with New York pride. But, from the tip-off in the first quarter, the Chicago Bulls quickly deflated their mood with a 14-2 lead to start the game. Joakim Noah and Luol Deng led the Bulls through the entire game with every hustle play that was vital. In fact, the New York Knicks never led in the game at all and allowed the Bulls to obtain a 20 point lead for the majority of the second and third quarter.
The Knicks were simply having a bad shooting night. The Chicago Bulls were nearly shooting over 50% from the field. Throughout the game, it became grittier and quite aggressive. The fouls were harder, more pushing, and frustration with the referees started to come to a boil. If a team isn’t poised, especially at home, frustration can lead to making unwise decisions. The Knicks were complaining about non-calls and making unnecessary, silly fouls. When teams aren’t playing well, they blame everyone but themselves. There were 6 technicals called and 4 ejections. MVP candidate, Carmelo Anthony, had 2 technicals and was ejected for complaining about non-calls when he’d drive to the basket and get fouled. Then the Knicks coach, Mike Woodson, who was taking up for Carmelo was ejected for uttering some not so nice words at one of the refs. The more this game went on, the more exciting and chaotic everything became.
Towards the end of the game, JR Smith fouled out of the game. This hurt the Knicks even more since Smith and Anthony were taking the scoring load. Then, Tyson Chandler got into a wrestling match/head-butt confrontation with Joakim Noah and both were tossed from the game. The Knicks made a run at the end, but it wasn’t enough. Luol Deng had a double-double with 29 points and 11 rebounds. Also, Joakim Noah, a deserving All-Star candidate, had another double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Kirk Hinrich almost had a triple-double with 16 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists. Marco Belinelli had 22 points and has been playing great with Rip Hamilton still out due to injuries.
Joakim is proving to be by far the best (active) player in a Bulls uniform right now. It has been said over and over how great and passionate he’s playing every night. He’s showing fans that he deserves to be an All-Star. Last night, Noah refused to give up on a play while surrounded by 3 Knick players and managed to tip the ball in. Noah tends to scream and yell while out-hustling in the paint which makes the play even more intense. Fans can see how bad he wants to win. Even though, he was ejected, he proved to be a leader for a team without their superstar.
Tonight, the Bulls will face the Atlanta Hawks and have a little reunion with former Bull, Kyle Korver. The game starts at 7pm ET. The Bulls are 15-10 and #1 in the Central Division.