Bulls hand Knicks 2nd home loss

Noah ejected in Friday's win after getting into a fight with Chandler.

NEW YORK — Bodies were flying. Profane chants descended from the Madison Square Garden nosebleeds. Three players and a coach grabbed early showers, courtesy of ejections.

Tom Thibodeau must have felt right at home, as if he were back serving as Jeff Van Gundy's right-hand man as a Knicks assistant during the rough-and-tumble '90s.

For good measure, Thibodeau drew a technical foul — one of the game's nine — during the Bulls' 110-106 victory over the Eastern Conference-leading Knicks on Friday night.

The Bulls were up 17 at the time — in the fourth quarter.

It was that kind of wild night at the so-called World's Most Famous Arena, where the Bulls bullied and bothered the Knicks until a ridiculous 45-point fourth quarter trimmed their 25-point, fourth-quarter deficit to the final margin. Still, the Bulls held the Knicks to 41.8 percent shooting and eight 3-pointers — four below their average — to hand them just their second home loss in 13 games.

"You get a 25-point lead on the road against a team like this and you're obviously doing a lot of good things," Thibodeau said. "I'm disappointed with our poise and discipline in the fourth quarter, starting with me. That's not the way we want to close."

The victory came at a cost.

Luol Deng and Taj Gibson both said they're unsure if they will play Saturday night at Atlanta. Gibson's sore right ankle limited him to 3 minutes, 38 seconds. Deng hurt his left shoulder midway through the third when Jason Kidd stripped him as he rose for a shot. Trainers attended to him on the bench for 2:28 before he returned to finish, tying Carmelo Anthony for game-high honors with 29 points.

"I felt it right away in my shoulder," Deng said. "My arm was numb. I was worried my shoulder might be out of place. After a few minutes, it started to feel better. It's sore now, but it's not dislocated. We'll look at it (Saturday)."

Noah, who had 15 points and 12 rebounds, watched Deng's grit in street clothes from the locker room.

He and Tyson Chandler became entangled during a fourth-quarter scramble for rebounding positioning, trading elbows and attempted head-butts. Both drew their second technical fouls and subsequent ejections with 4:39 remaining.

"Things were definitely escalating," Noah said. "I don't think they're used to being down that much and were frustrated. We'll be playing this team a lot. They're very good."

Officials already had ejected Anthony and coach Mike Woodson.

"You can't put it in the officials' hands," Thibodeau said. "We all should have recognized that. They had enough. They weren't taking anybody talking to them. Jo played great but tried to make a point and got thrown. That hurt us."

Marco Belinelli's 22 points and a near triple-double from Kirk Hinrich, who got the Bulls off to a good start with two first-quarter 3-pointers, helped.

When the Bulls downed the Knicks at the United Center on Dec. 8, it came with the caveat that Anthony sat with an injury. This game, particularly the way the Bulls defended through the first three quarters as they piled up a staggering 51-30 rebounding edge, seemed to make a statement.

But not to Noah, who grew up a Knicks fan and wore a cheeky smile throughout his postgame interview.

"This doesn't say anything," he said. "It just says Bulls, W. Knickerbockers, L."


Twitter @kcjhoop

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