The Knicks have struggled with pretty much everything over their six-game losing streak. On Monday night, they limited themselves to just one major failing, but failed so royally in that endeavor that they took themselves out of the game. New York allowed the Bulls -- the NBA's best rebounding team -- to make up for poor shooting by dominating the glass en route to a 105-99 win.
The game was close throughout the first half. The Bulls missed Luol Deng, Rip Hamilton and C.J. Watson, and Derrick Rose struggled to score (thanks in some part to solid defense by Jeremy Lin and great help by Tyson Chandler), but the Chicago bigs made up for all that by finishing in transition and off the glass. New York got balanced scoring off successful pick-and-rolls and some isolation scoring from Carmelo Anthony.
In the second half, Amar'e Stoudemire found the range for New York (13 points in the third quarter) and led them to a solid offensive quarter. Chicago continued to shoot poorly, but it didn't really do them much harm, because they got oodles of do-overs. Rose found his offense in the second half and had little trouble burning Lin off the dribble once he got rolling. This forced the New York big men to collapse on him, which allowed the Bulls to do what they do best. Blog-a-Bull explains:
Rose did his part in commanding the PG matchup, and the rest of this game was won on the glass. It's almost to a point where the missed shots are a quality basketball play (convenient with the injuries I suppose), with tonight being yet another 40%+ (43.1%) offensive rebounding rate, led by Taj Gibson's 8 in his 26 minutes (say it, Taj!).
Indeed, missed shots were pretty much Chicago's best offense. Chicago shot just 43 percent to New York's 46 percent, but got 32 points from Rose and held an absurd 56-38 rebounding edge, including 22 offensive rebounds. Particularly in the second half, the Knicks look totally debilitated after defending the Bulls brilliantly for a full 24 seconds, only to see the ball carom back into Chicago's possession for another opportunity. New York cut the lead close again in the late fourth quarter, but pretty uniformly failed to execute down the stretch-- missed shots, turnovers, untimely fouls...just typical Knicks stuff.
New York's loss was their sixth straight and dropped them to 9th place in the East, while the Bulls held firm on their top spot, moving to 35-9 overall.