Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Joakim Noah logged a triple-double and D.J.
Augustin scored 23 points as the Chicago Bulls cruised to a 109-90 victory
over the New York Knicks in a matchup of teams headed in opposite directions.
Noah dished out a career-best 14 assists to go along with 13 points and 12
rebounds in the Bulls' ninth win in 10 games.
"What can you say? He is playing MVP basketball," Bulls forward Taj Gibson
remarked. "He is doing everything in all facets of the game."
Jimmy Butler chipped in 19 points and Carlos Boozer finished with 14 in a
contest Chicago led the entire way.
The fading Knicks dropped their sixth in a row despite Carmelo Anthony's 21
points and a 22-rebound effort from Tyson Chandler.
Chicago began the game on fire, building a 16-1 lead just over four minutes in
on the strength of a defense that caused the Knicks to go 0-for-4 from the
field and turn the ball over three times. The margin would swell to 21 points
by period's end after Butler's layup and free throw gave the Bulls a
commanding 37-16 advantage.
"You can't play the game like a light switch, or you get buried," said Knicks
guard J.R. Smith of the slow start. "We've got to come out with it already
New York did manage to cut into the deficit in the second quarter, with
Amar'e Stoudemire scoring six points during an 8-0 run that brought the Knicks
within 51-42 with 3 1/2 minutes left before the break. The differential
remained at nine until Butler capped off a 17-point half by sinking a jumper
in the closing seconds, putting Chicago up 59-48 at intermission.
The Knicks failed to make any headway in the third quarter, however. Kirk
Hinrich and Mike Dunleavy each buried 3-pointers during an 8-2 spurt that
extended the Bulls' lead to 74-56 just past the midway mark of the frame,
though New York ended the stanza on a 7-2 push and trailed 80-68 entering the
fourth following Tim Hardaway Jr.'s successful floater at the buzzer.
New York got no closer, though, as Augustin dropped in six points to lead a
9-2 run to start the final period and Chicago stretched the lead to as many as
24 points during the game's latter stages.
Guard Jimmer Fredette, signed by the Bulls earlier in the day, played the
final three minutes and notched two points and a pair of rebounds ... Noah's
triple-double was the fifth of his career and second this season, having
registered 19 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists against Atlanta on Feb. 11
... Iman Shumpert returned to action for New York after missing five straight
games with a sprained knee, but managed just three points in 20 minutes ...
The Knicks lost for the sixth straight time at the United Center, where they
haven't won since Nov. 4, 2010 ... The game was part of the league's "Noche
NBA" program designed to celebrate Latino heritage, with Chicago wearing black
jerseys that displayed "Los Bulls" and New York donning "Nueva York" on its