Knicks vs Bulls: New York splits season series after a win on Wednesday

In the first matchup of the Knicks vs Bulls matchup, the Chicago Bulls took the first round 110-102 but the Knicks took the second game 107-103. In a battle between two contenders for the lower seeds of the Eastern Conference, both teams battled it out to the very end. Before the win, the Knicks had lost five of their last six games. 

Main Knicks vs Bulls headlines

In the first matchup, Lauri Markkanen scored 30 points in his second straight game of the season, while Zach LaVine added 21 points. In the second round of Knicks vs Bulls, the Knicks stifled the two players for a combined 33 points. It was a massive recovery for the NBA leaders in points allowed. 

Defense prevails in Knicks vs Bulls

To be fair, both teams played solid defense in both outings. The second game was where the Knicks stood out, holding the Bulls to 6-of-36 shooting from three-point range. Not too many high school teams would win a game with numbers like that. That came out to a shooting percentage of 16.7%. LaVine and Markkanen were a combined 0-for-11 from the three-point range. 

Elfrid Payton stepped up

Payton came up big in the second meeting. He finished with 20 points and eight rebounds. Payton had only five points in 18 minutes the first time around. The Knicks need consistent play from their starting guard, which has proven to be hard to come by. However, none can fault him in this showing, being a key factor in helping the Knicks win the second game. 

Knicks vs Bulls game analysis & commentary

For starters, it all comes down to defense. The Bulls were led by Tom Thibodeau for years and he was the mastermind of the defensive makeup. It’s no different with the Knicks. If the Knicks can hold teams to under 105 points, there is a good shot that the team is going to win. The Knicks do not have the offensive firepower to keep up with teams. 

Nerlens Noel is finding his role

Nerlens Noel is starting to carve out a role with this team. In 20 minutes, Noel scored just four points and added three rebounds but he is a proven rim protector when Mitchell Robinson needs a break. Robinson has developed into a nice post presence but needs a few minutes to catch his breath. 

Take care of the ball

The Knicks nearly lost this game after committing 17 turnovers. With that said, the Bulls only scored nine points off those turnovers. The Knicks, however, scored 21 points off the nine Bulls turnovers. RJ Barrett, finishing with 17 points, led the team with four turnovers. 

What’s next after Knicks vs Bulls?

New York improved to 10-13 on the season with the win. The Knicks don’t play again until Saturday against the Portland Trail Blazers with a tip-off time of 11:00 E.T. The franchise is now the No. 9 seed despite owning the same record with the No. 8 seed Charlotte Hornets.