Playing before a hostile Madison Square Garden crowd, the Bulls went about taking care of business from the opening tip. They stormed out of the gate early, going up by as many as 15 points before ultimately settling for a 29-18 lead through the first quarter.
However, the rout didn't end with the first quarter. Chicago again came out of the gate scorching in the second period behind 12 points from Deng and went into the half ahead, 57-36.
That second quarter was part of an all-around great game for Deng, who finished with a season-high 33 points on 13-of-18 shooting.
After the break, the Bulls' defensive dominance subsided a little, but they kept knocking down shots. Overall, Chicago had a marvelous shooting performance, nailing 57.4 percent of its field goals.
That ultimately would be a huge help when the Knicks came back to life in the fourth quarter.
With the game seemingly in the bag for Chicago, New York went on a shooting frenzy in the last 12 minutes thanks to a particularly motivated Carmelo Anthony. The Knicks star, who returned after serving a one-game suspension Thursday night, scored 19 points in the fourth quarter and brought his team within as many as five points before falling short.
The loss gives them two in as many nights and Mike Woodson's squad is now just one game ahead of the Indiana Pacers for second in the Eastern Conference.
Meanwhile, Chicago continues to keep itself afloat while waiting for Derrick Rose's return. Tom Thibodeau's team has now won four of its last five contests and is sitting comfortably inside the East's top eight.
Player of the Game: Luol Deng
Throughout the season, Deng has done just about everything Thibodeau has asked. He plays 40 minutes just about every night, including 42 on Friday, and steps up different facets of his game when needed.
Against the Knicks, Chicago needed scoring and Deng came through with a season-best performance. That's more than good enough for plaudits in my book.
What's Next for the Bulls?
What's Next for the Knicks?
After playing on back-to-back nights, the 23-13 Knicks will get 24 hours of rest before a home tilt against the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday.