Two days after a heart breaking buzzer beating loss to the Portland Trailblazers, the Chicago Bulls (8-11) hang on to win at home against the New York Knicks (9-13) with a score of 110-102. Lauri Markkanen was huge once again pouring in his second straight 30 point performance shooting a very efficient 11-18 from the field and 6-12 from 3 point land. The biggest difference for Lauri is that his shots are actually going in the basket and he, as well as the Bulls, are reaping the benefits. Zach Lavine, once again, came in clutch with very timely buckets down the stretch and finished with 21 points on 8-16 shooting. Thaddeus Young narrowly missed a triple double with 13 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists off the bench. For the Knicks, Julius Randle led the team in scoring with 23 points on 7-16 shooting.
The Bulls were up 100-97 with a minute remaining in the game until Alec Burks (18 points) nailed a 3 to tie the game. Coby White responded immediately with a 3 of his own to give the Bulls the lead again. The Bulls were finally able to close a game again after Lavine hit a clutch 3 and 2 free throws in the final moments of the game to end the game outscoring the Knicks 10-2.
As heart breaking as the losses have been lately, there is a clear improvement last night in clutch situations. Point guard play and ball movement are still key for victory for the Bulls. If the ball becomes stagnant, it is very difficult for the Bulls to get everyone involved and everyone is able to hone in on Lavine and that could spell a recipe for disaster. The Bulls have a real chance of climbing the standings this week with another game against the Knicks on Wednesday night and a 2 game series against the Orlando Magic next.The Bulls will be back at it again Wednesday evening against the Knicks again.
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