NYC, New York- Friday night’s match-up between the New York Knicks and the Chicago Bulls could be littered with adjectives from a desperate adman, but the word that best describes the Bulls’ 110-106 win at Madison Square Garden is certainly bizarre.
One could start with the Bulls nearly blowing a 25-point lead, New York shooting a season-low 39 points in the first half, or merely the count the fouls that were looked off but were called anyway, and the ensuing technical fouls and ejections that added the missing drama from what appeared to be a snooze-fest during Chicago’s double-digit lead for the first three and a half quarters of play.
With a little over three minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Bulls lead 74-49.
Whether it was suffocating defense on behalf of Chicago, a team that entered the game holding opponents to 87.2 points in their last 13 games, or the Knicks off-night from the field in which they shot a hair above 30-percent from three-point range, going 8-of-26, is surely going to be debated on every morning talk show.
Numbers aside, the fun really began when Carmelo Anthony, who finished with a team-high 29 points, was called for his first technical foul after a three-pointer by Luol Deng[team-high 29 points, 13 rebounds]. Perhaps Anthony was upset at the pushing, or the non-call on his missed layup during the previous New York possession. Either way, it was the beginning of the brimstone being burned from both team’s benches.
In the third quarter, Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson felt his team was getting pushed around, and while stepping out onto the court to make his case known, was hit with his first technical foul.
Fast forward to the fourth quarter and Jason Kidd is called for a loose ball foul on Deng, despite not touching him, or even being remotely next to him during the play. Shortly thereafter, Anthony would be tossed on his second technical while arguing a loose ball foul on the Bulls’ Joakim Noah [15 points, 12 boards], a player who is shortly becoming the new Reggie Miller in the eyes of the Knicks’ fans everywhere.
Anthony had reason to complain, and if he seemed overzealous in his defense of Noah, it might have been because Noah had crushed Anthony’s arm while setting a pick, all of which led the sellout crowd to chant, “These ref’s suck.”
“I’m pretty sure the refs knew the calls that they missed,” said Anthony when asked about the officiating and his ejection. “It was a tough night; it was a tough game. [A] Chicago-New York game will always be a physical game. We see them again [Jan. 11], though, back here in the Garden. We will be prepared for that.”
The officials apparent ineptitude as felt by the fans did not end with Anthony’s departure, but deepened with that of Woodson’s who in utter disbelief of his leadeing scorer being vanquished to the locker room, quickly found himself there as well after arguing his star’s ejection.
All of this energy eventually added up into a near brawl, as Knicks’ center Tyson Chandler [five points, eight rebounds] had some choice words for Noah in the fourth quarter. Each were separated after getting into each others faces, and consequently ejected, walking away to the sounding sirens or “Ty-son Chand-ler,” by the remnants of the Garden faithful.
“For what? he butt-headed me, [so] no, [I] can’t be scared of a [possible] suspension,” replied Noah on if he was concerned that he may be suspended for his altercation with Chandler. Noah continued to go on saying that after all the fouls, that “…things were definitely escalating,” and that the whole situation was basically, ” Two guys just trying to go for a rebound, unfortunately [we] got ejected.”
Behind all of the scuffling was an actual basketball game, and despite being unable to hit big buckets or get key stops, the Knicks did shave the Bulls’ 25- point lead down to 10 at 101-91 with 2:32 left to play.
Missing a couple more three-pointers, the Knicks would lapse into the fortunes of the free-throw contest, and with time expiring, found themselves on the wrong side of a four-point home loss.
“You got a 25-point lead on the road against a team like this, you’re doing a lot of good things,” said Bulls’ head coach Tom Thibodeau on Chicago’s early lead, but continued by saying that he was, “…disappointed in our poise and discipline in the fourth quarter.”“Bad coaching tonight,” explained coach Woodson on the loss, adding, “We’ll get through this and regroup and get ready for Sunday’s game starting tomorrow. … You’ve gotta give Chicago credit. They played great tonight and [were] able to come out of here with a win.”