Bulls end Knicks' winning streak at five games, 93-85

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah battles for a

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah battles for a rebound with Steve Novak during a game at the United Center. (Dec. 8, 2012) (Credit: Getty)

CHICAGO -- The Knicks looked like a team at the end of a road trip. They played like one that put everything it had into beating the Heat and couldn't muster the same energy or execution two nights later.

The Chicago Bulls had something to do with that last part -- and they were completing a back-to-back. The Bulls packed the paint and dared Raymond Felton and the Carmelo Anthony-less Knicks to beat them from the perimeter.

That strategy worked. Felton missed 21 of 30 field-goal attempts, and the shots that fell for the Knicks in Miami didn't Saturday night as the Bulls snapped their winning streak at five games, 93-85, at the United Center.

It was the Knicks' worst offensive performance this season. They shot 27-for-84 (32.1 percent) and made only three field goals in the final 8:48.

"'We were a little bit out of control in terms of our offensive execution,'' Mike Woodson said. "I got to take some of the blame for that. I didn't help them get into things quickly.''

After beating the Heat by 20 without Anthony, who has a lacerated left middle finger, the Knicks (14-5) definitely missed him against the Bulls. But they missed just about everything Saturday night. He is expected to play Sunday night at the Garden against the Nuggets.

The Bulls saw how the Knicks scorched the Heat by shooting 18-for-44 from three-point range Thursday night. Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau wasn't going to let that happen. He double-teamed less and made the Knicks work for everything.

Felton scored 27 points, but his 30 attempts were a career high and far more than he wants to take. He was 3-for-11 on shots in the paint.

"Basically, [they were] just saying we're not going to let these guys shoot no threes," Felton said. "They took my three away off the screen-and-roll, made sure I went off the screen and had to attack the big. That's why I took so many shots.

"Do I like to take 30 shots? I'm a point guard. I'm not one of those point guards who wants to take that many shots. If I have to, I have to; that's what it is."

J.R. Smith had 15 points and Tyson Chandler added 14 points and 18 rebounds.

Luol Deng and Marco Belinelli scored 22 points each for the Bulls, who remain without Derrick Rose (knee surgery) and lost reserve Taj Gibson when he was ejected in the second quarter for arguing a foul call. Former Knick Nate Robinson had 14 points and eight assists.

It was clear in the second quarter that the Knicks weren't going to duplicate the Miami game. They went the first 5:39 without a basket, ended up 4-for-16 in the quarter and committed eight turnovers.

The Knicks led 73-71 after Kurt Thomas' jumper with 8:49 left, but they bricked their next eight shots and missed 14 of their final 17 attempts.

"If we make half of the open shots that we missed, we're all laughing and joking and leaving here happy," Chandler said.

The Knicks trailed 85-82 after two free throws by Chandler with 1:56 left but gave up a huge corner jumper to Belinelli on Chicago's next trip. Then Steve Novak missed a three and Joakim Noah converted on the other end. Jason Kidd's turnover on the ensuing possession led to two free throws by Robinson with 55.2 seconds to go that made it 91-82.

"When you try to grind out a game like that, you got to make plays down the stretch,'' Woodson said. "I thought they made the hustle plays they needed to make to win the game and we didn't.''

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