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Knicks Have No Answer For Rose, Struggle On The Boards In Loss To Bulls

Melo, STAT Combine For Just 7 Points In The 4th Quarter Of 104-99 Defeat
Jeremy Lin

Knicks guard Jeremy Lin goes strong to the hoop against the Bulls in Chicago on March 12, 2012. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (AP) — Derrick Rose had another big scoring night to help the league-best Chicago Bulls to another win. Still, he was frustrated after the game.

Rose had 32 points, six rebounds and seven assists as the Bulls beat New York 104-99 on Monday night for their 10th win in 11 games and sending the reeling Knicks to their sixth straight loss. He had to work for his points, shooting 12 for 29 from the floor and absorbing contact from Knicks defenders all night.

“I’ve got to be the only the only superstar in the league that’s going through what I’m going through right now,” Rose said. “Can’t say too much about it.”

It was a physical game throughout as New York attempted 31 free throws and Chicago had 28.

“I’m going to continue to play the way I know how to play,” Rose said. “I came into this league as a driver. Nothing has changed.”

The Bulls won despite the absence of starters Luol Deng and Richard Hamilton, as well as key reserve C.J. Watson. They got a jolt of energy from the reserves, led by Taj Gibson’s 15 points and a team-high 13 boards. Chicago, which outrebounded New York 56-38, entered the game leading the league in rebounding margin.

“I thought our rebounding was outstanding,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “Taj was great. I thought the second shots he got us in the second half was the difference in the game.”

Carmelo Anthony scored 21 points and Amare Stoudemire added 20 for the Knicks, but the two combined for just seven points in the fourth quarter as the Bulls pulled away.

“They are very tenacious on the offensive boards,” Stoudemire said. “They did a phenomenal job. Whenever there was a mismatch, they took advantage of it as far as crashing the boards.”

Jeremy Lin had 15 points and eight assists for New York, but shot just 4 of 11 from the floor and while he bothered Rose at times, he ultimately had little luck stopping him.

Lin, who has been plagued by turnovers, committed just three miscues against Chicago’s elite defense.

“He’s good,” Rose said. “He didn’t turn the ball over that much. He’s playing with a lot of confidence. His teammates believe in him. You can go so far in this league when you have your teammates behind you.”

The Knicks have lost six straight for the second time this season and, combined with Milwaukee’s win at New Jersey, are now tied with the Bucks for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. New York has lost eight of 10 since Anthony returned to the lineup from an injury on Feb. 20.

“Second chance points just got us,” Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said. “You can’t give these guys 20 more shots at the basket than we had.”

Carlos Boozer scored 15 points and Joakim Noah had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls. Rookie Jimmy Butler played a key role with eight points in 29 minutes, making several big energy plays to excite the sellout crowd.

“(Gibson and Butler) are the reason why we won, making huge plays, big shots, diving for the ball, saving balls,” Rose said. “That’s the reason why we won. I definitely take off my hat to both of them guys.”

The Bulls’ dominance on the boards led to the key basket of the game midway through the fourth quarter. With the shot clock expiring, Rose flipped up a long shot that bounced off the back of the rim, but Gibson chased down the rebound, bringing the United Center crowd to its feet.

Then Rose cut behind Lin, who had turned his head, took a bounce pass from Noah and threw down a thunderous, one-handed dunk to put the Bulls ahead 91-84 with 6:01 to play.

A couple of minutes later, Butler put an exclamation point on his performance by roaring in from the baseline to dunk Boozer’s missed shot.

“(I try to) be an energy guy,” Butler said. “It’s easy to do when you see Taj. He played extremely well for us tonight. When you see the expression in his face and (Joakim Noah’s) face, that rubs off on me. The energy, it comes from everybody.”

Anthony hit a 3 to cut the lead to four with 49.8 seconds remaining but that was as close as the Knicks got.

“We didn’t finish the job,” said Knicks center Tyson Chandler, who had 13 points and 10 rebounds. “You’ve got to get the rebound. … A lot of it is Derrick Rose. The pressure he applies getting to the basket, attacking. Drawing two defenders. It kind of unleashes them on the offensive glass.”

In the third quarter, Rose capped a 12-2 run with a floater off a crossover that left Lin in the dust, giving Chicago a seven-point lead.

The Knicks responded with an 11-5 spurt of their own, all of the points coming from Stoudemire and Anthony, who combined for 21 points in the third.

The playoff-type game was intense to the finish, coming to a crescendo on Rose’s fourth-quarter dunk that is sure to be featured on the nightly highlight shows. Rose had an angry expression on his face after the dunk, but said he didn’t really remember the play. He did, however, have an inkling about the look on his face.

“I kind of blacked out right there, I’ll have to watch it again,” Rose said. “I was probably mad because they wasn’t calling no fouls the whole game.”

NOTES: Deng sat out for the second straight game after his left wrist injury flared up during last Thursday’s loss to Orlando. Hamilton missed his fourth straight game because of a right shoulder contusion and minor sprain. He has missed 27 games this season due to various injuries. Watson missed his fifth game in a row because of a sprained left ankle. All three players are considered day-to-day by the team. . Knicks reserve Jared Jeffries missed the game because of a sore left knee. D’Antoni said he expects Jeffries to return for Wednesday’s game against Portland. . The Bulls haven’t lost consecutive games since Feb. 5-7, 2011 — a franchise-record stretch of 75 games. . The Bulls improved to 30-0 when leading after three quarters.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)