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DeMar DeRozan Drops 34 as Bulls Fend off Knicks' Furious 2nd-Half Surge

Doric SamDecember 3, 2021

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

The Chicago Bulls earned a 119-115 road win over the New York Knicks on Thursday night. DeMar DeRozan had 34 points as Chicago improved to 15-8.

Chicago Bulls @chicagobulls

CLUTCH.<a href="https://twitter.com/NBCSChicago?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NBCSChicago</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/DeMar_DeRozan?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DeMar_DeRozan</a> <a href="https://t.co/FK61ucmTwz">pic.twitter.com/FK61ucmTwz</a>

The victory continues a strong start to the season for the Bulls, who entered the game tied for the second-best record in the Eastern Conference.

The Knicks trailed by as many as 21 in the first half before storming back, but their comeback fell short. New York fell to 11-11 with its second straight loss. Julius Randle led the Knicks with 30 points and 12 rebounds.


Notable Player Stats

G DeMar DeRozan, CHI: 34 points (18 in 4th quarter)

C Nikola Vucevic, CHI: 27 points

G Zach LaVine, CHI: 27 points

F Julius Randle, NYK: 30 points, 12 rebounds


Bulls Build Big Lead Early, Hold on Late

Chicago entered Thursday ranked fourth in the NBA in field-goal percentage (47.0) and point differential (plus-4.4). The team's efficiency was on full display early on as the Bulls took advantage of a soft Knicks defense to tie a season high with 69 points in the first half.

NBA TV @NBATV

Alex Caruso with the SMOOTH set up for Vucevic πŸ‘€ <a href="https://t.co/MJtlc2jV3o">pic.twitter.com/MJtlc2jV3o</a>

NBA @NBA

On fire in the first half πŸ”₯<br><br>Zach LaVine (18 PTS) and DeMar DeRozan (16 PTS) lead the <a href="https://twitter.com/chicagobulls?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@chicagobulls</a> scoring charge after two quarters on <a href="https://twitter.com/NBATV?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NBATV</a>!<br><br>Second half πŸ‘€: <a href="https://t.co/E0TqX5RADF">https://t.co/E0TqX5RADF</a> <a href="https://t.co/XVsFm3YMDx">pic.twitter.com/XVsFm3YMDx</a>

Chicago led by as many as 21 in the first half and was able to get out in transition after forcing the Knicks into 12 turnovers. Alex Caruso was a pest on both ends of the floor.

K.C. Johnson @KCJHoop

This was the highlight. But Caruso was everywhere in his 6 minutes. 3 assists, 2 rebounds, drew Taj offensive foul that led to Gibson ejection. <a href="https://t.co/U4GvQXJTSn">https://t.co/U4GvQXJTSn</a>

The Bulls seemed to fall asleep at the wheel after halftime and allowed New York to claw back into the game in the third quarter. After shooting 57.4 percent in the first half, Chicago went 8-of-23 from the field in the third (34.8 percent).

But timely buckets from the Bulls' stars helped them stave off the Knicks' comeback. DeRozan had 18 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter.

Chicago Bulls @chicagobulls

DEMAR DEROZAN PROFESSIONAL SCORER.<a href="https://twitter.com/NBCSChicago?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NBCSChicago</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/DeMar_DeRozan?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DeMar_DeRozan</a> <a href="https://t.co/E6qe4ULh6u">pic.twitter.com/E6qe4ULh6u</a>

Chicago Bulls @chicagobulls

GIMME THE HOT SAUCE, VOOCH.<a href="https://twitter.com/NBCSChicago?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NBCSChicago</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/NikolaVucevic?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NikolaVucevic</a> <a href="https://t.co/jkP63gmY6M">pic.twitter.com/jkP63gmY6M</a>

Chicago Bulls @chicagobulls

MIDRANGE KILLER DEMAR DEROZAN.<a href="https://twitter.com/NBCSChicago?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NBCSChicago</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/DeMar_DeRozan?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DeMar_DeRozan</a> <a href="https://t.co/rTR4QPQzWN">pic.twitter.com/rTR4QPQzWN</a>

NBA TV @NBATV

Zach LaVine.. Clutch in the 4th 🧊 <a href="https://t.co/0Wr4XSRYao">pic.twitter.com/0Wr4XSRYao</a>

Chicago has looked like one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference at times this season. The Bulls can't take their foot off the gas like they did in the second half on Thursday if they hope to compete with the conference's elite.

The victory should serve as a gut check for Chicago. The lessons learned from this win will help the Bulls going forward as they attempt to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2016-17 season.


Knicks Play With Fire in Second Half, Can't Complete Comeback

New York looked to be on its way to an embarrassing loss at home after a dismal first-half performance. Some questionable calls by the referees and an early ejection for Knicks forward Taj Gibson seemed to get the team out of sorts and off its game.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Taj Gibson gets ejected after getting called for an offensive foul 😬 <a href="https://t.co/XUO1JgP4pP">pic.twitter.com/XUO1JgP4pP</a>

Randle and Evan Fournier were seen arguing as they headed into the locker room for halftime.

Rob Perez @WorldWideWob

<a href="https://t.co/bXAD6qMA2L">pic.twitter.com/bXAD6qMA2L</a>

But New York head coach Tom Thibodeau apparently lit a fire under his players during the break, because they came out in the third quarter and played furiously on both offense and defense. The Knicks were able to ignite the crowd at Madison Square Garden thanks to their improved effort coming out of halftime.

NEW YORK KNICKS @nyknicks

.<a href="https://twitter.com/IQ_GodSon?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@IQ_GodSon</a> got The Garden going CRAZY. <a href="https://t.co/EivFEP4oAg">pic.twitter.com/EivFEP4oAg</a>

NEW YORK KNICKS @nyknicks

LOOK OUT BELOW <a href="https://t.co/GG3iRyj5Ll">pic.twitter.com/GG3iRyj5Ll</a>

NEW YORK KNICKS @nyknicks

How do say "no" in French? <a href="https://t.co/ZzDUbX993B">pic.twitter.com/ZzDUbX993B</a>

NBA @NBA

Rose rejection 🚫<br><br>Derrick Rose rises up on time to send the layup away! <br><br>Watch the <a href="https://twitter.com/nyknicks?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@nyknicks</a> and Bulls in Q3 on <a href="https://twitter.com/NBATV?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NBATV</a>! <a href="https://t.co/qDNAXNxPnb">pic.twitter.com/qDNAXNxPnb</a>

After shooting 2-of-12 on three-pointers in the first half, the Knicks hit six triples in the third quarter. The Knicks outscored Chicago 32-20 in the frame to turn an 18-point halftime deficit into a six-point game heading into the fourth quarter.

Alec Burks hit a triple in the fourth to tie the game and Randle later gave the Knicks their first lead since it was 9-7 in the first quarter.

NBA @NBA

Brand new ball game on <a href="https://twitter.com/NBATV?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NBATV</a> πŸ‘€<br><br>After being down by as many as 21, Alec Burks ties it up for the <a href="https://twitter.com/nyknicks?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@nyknicks</a> in Q4!<br><br>Watch the final quarter here: <a href="https://t.co/E0TqX5RADF">https://t.co/E0TqX5RADF</a> <a href="https://t.co/MOCatrSfQN">pic.twitter.com/MOCatrSfQN</a>

Steve Popper @StevePopper

Burks hits a 3 and the score is now tied 97-97 with 8:11 left. knicks started 1-for-11 from 3 and have hit 8-of-12 from beyond the arc since.

NEW YORK KNICKS @nyknicks

JU OFF THE GLASS FOR THE LEAD 😀 <a href="https://t.co/R1jal9Pkun">pic.twitter.com/R1jal9Pkun</a>

But the Knicks just couldn't close it out. Randle had a bad turnover and missed a couple of key free throws down the stretch as Chicago pulled away.

New York now has a 5-7 record on its home floor. Failing to finish off comebacks and put teams away has been a theme of the Knicks' season, and Thursday night was no different.


What's Next?

The Bulls will remain in New York to take on the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday. The Knicks will look to bounce back that same day when the Denver Nuggets come to town.

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