The New York Knicks will aim to rebound from their first loss in more than two weeks on Friday when they host a Chicago Bulls bunch looking to close out a winning road trip.
Chicago won its second straight of a four-game road swing on Wednesday, 110-108 in Atlanta, thanks to 28 points from DeMar DeRozan, 22 points from Zach LaVine and 20 points from Nikola Vucevic.
Ayo Dosunmu capped a nine-point effort off the bench with the game-winning basket as time expired.
“Two in a row, that’s how you build,” Dosunmu said after Wednesday’s win, via The Chicago Tribune. “We know what we’re capable of, we know our potential. Now it’s just about us going out there and making it happen.”
Coming off a 113-103 win Tuesday in Miami ahead of Wednesday’s buzzer-beater, the Bulls can win three straight for the first time this season with a victory Friday in New York.
Chicago’s back-to-back wins come amid a tumultuous week for the club. A report in The Athletic hinted at locker-room turmoil simmering amid the Bulls’ disappointing start to the season, with Chicago sitting five games below .500.
DeRozan downplayed the rumors of conflict with LaVine on Tuesday.
“To have any type of confrontation is just a true sign of a competitor,” DeRozan said to reporters following the win in Miami. “When you want to win and things aren’t going right, a sense of frustration kicks in. That’s all that was.”
Shortly after the article went public, guard Lonzo Ball told reporters he “can’t give you a specific timeline” for his return from a knee injury sustained in January.
While Chicago seeks its first three-game winning streak of the season, New York is pursuing a new streak after its run of eight straight wins ended in a 113-106 loss Wednesday to Toronto.
RJ Barrett and Julius Randle each scored 30 points against the Raptors, though two points that eluded Randle played a pivotal role in the conclusion. Randle lost control of the ball going up for a basket that would have pulled New York to within two points with 45 seconds remaining.
The Knicks also surrendered 52 points to Toronto’s Pascal Siakam.
As New York looks to regroup, it faces an opponent it beat twice during the eight-game winning streak.
The Knicks won a 128-120 overtime decision on Dec. 14, in which Randle scored 31 points and Jalen Brunson posted 30 points. New York routed the Bulls one game later, 114-91, behind 27 points from Barrett, 22 each from Brunson and Quentin Grimes — who missed the Toronto game with an ankle injury — and 19 points from Randle.
“We learned what we’re capable of. We just have to keep going,” Brunson said of the winning streak.
Some of New York’s success this season is owed to its 13 offensive rebounds per game, second-most in the NBA, and the league’s fourth-best 3-point defense at 33.7 percent allowed.
Chicago, meanwhile, is giving up just 8.9 offensive rebounds per game, the second-best yield in the league, but opponents are making 47.8 percent of field-goal attempts against the Bulls.
–Field Level Media