CHICAGO, March 13, 2012 (AFP) – Derrick Rose scored 32 points to power the Chicago Bulls past the New York Knicks 104-99, giving the host Bulls an NBA-best 35-9 record with the 10th victory in their past 11 games.
Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson each scored 15 points for the Bulls while Joakim Noah added 12 points and 10 rebounds and Gibson grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds for Chicago.
The Knicks suffered their sixth loss in a row and the seventh in their past eight games in falling to 18-24, level with Milwaukee for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
New York was led by 21 points from Carmelo Anthony, 20 points from Amare Stoudemire and 13 points and 10 rebounds from Tyson Chandler.
Jeremy Lin, the Asian-American sensation who erupted on the NBA scene last month in leading the Knicks on a seven-game win streak, scored 15 points, passed off eight assists, blocked three shots and made three steals.
But the Knicks have struggled since Anthony returned from an injury, unable to match the magic Lin mustered when he lineup was injury depleted.
Rose, last season’s NBA Most Valuable Player, helped spark the Bulls when the Knicks stayed close at the finish.
Lin sank two free throws to pull the Knicks within 91-88 with 4:33 to play but the Bulls scored eight of the next 10 points, Rose hitting a layup and a slam dunk, to seize the biggest lead of the game at 99-90 with 1:37 to play.
A Chandler layup and Anthony 3-pointer kept the Knicks close into the final seconds, but Kyle Korver sank three late free throws and Gibson slammed in a dunk with seven seconds remaining to seal New York’s fate. – AFP