The Knicks reached the midpoint of their season with a disappointing game that has typified their first half. They built a double-digit lead at home, squandered it, Kristaps Porzingis disappeared at key moments, they made some dramatic plays but in the end they ran out of them.
They also ran their home losing streak to three-straight games with a deflating, 122-119, double-overtime loss to the Bulls Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.
The Knicks had a final shot to force a third overtime, but Jarrett Jack’s pull-up three-pointer with 2.8 seconds was long. Courtney Lee got the rebound inside and passed it out to Doug McDermott, but time expired before he got a shot off. He missed anyway.
“It’s a bad feeling,” Porzingis said. “We have some growing to do for sure.”
This was a game the Knicks (19-22) were winning by 11 in the first half, but they never could really get separation and it led to their eighth loss in the last 10 games.
The Knicks continued to give the Bulls open three-pointers and Chicago made them pay, hitting 15 of 33 from deep. The Knicks also continue to have trouble with the Bulls. They’re 0-3 against Chicago (15-27) and the total difference in those games is 10 points.
“Against a team you’re equal to, you get a lead at home that’s when you have to put the hammer down, build the lead up,” Jeff Hornacek said. “We didn’t get stops at crucial times.”
Michael Beasley, who missed the previous game with a sprained left ankle, led the Knicks with 26 points. But he was scoreless in the overtime periods. Beasley said he spent too much time arguing with officials and looking for calls.
Porzingis scored 24, but he had 10 in the first quarter and none in the fourth.
“The second, third and fourth I was just running up and down,” Porzingis said. “I have to find ways how to be better, how to be more useful for my team.”
Barker: Knicks need to learn how to finish the jobThe Knicks have exceeded expectations this season, but winning close games remains a work in progress.
Jack finished with a triple-double: 16 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. But he had a critical turnover with 18 seconds left in the second overtime and the Knicks down two. But Jack had some great moments.
He threw an inbounds pass off Kris Dunn’s back to avoid a five-second violation and scored inside in the first overtime. Jack also fed Porzingis, who came off a double screen, for a dunk at the buzzer to force the second overtime on a well-designed play by Hornacek. But Jack was in no mood for praise.
“For some reason, we have these moods at certain moments of the game where it seems we get a bit lax,” Jack said. “This is a team that has beaten us three times on just sheer will, just sheer playing hard.”
Rookie Lauri Markkanen connected on a career-high eight three-pointers, had a thunderous dunk over Enes Kanter and finished with 33 for Chicago. Robin Lopez and Denzel Valentine each scored 20.
In the second overtime, the Knicks shot 3-for-10 with Beasley missing all four of his attempts.
Lopez dunked on the first two possessions giving the Bulls a 116-112 lead. The Knicks tied it on a Jack-fed Porzingis dunk with 1:47 left.
After a Bulls turnover, Jack missed a jumper with 1:22 left. A running bank shot by Dunn put the Bulls up 118-116 lead with 58.7 seconds to go. With a chance to tie, Porzingis shot an air-ball over Dunn. Porzingis thought he was fouled.
Jack came up with a steal, but then turned it over when his pass to Beasley went out of bounds with 18 seconds left. The Knicks couldn’t steal the inbounds so they purposely fouled and Justin Holiday made two free throws with 13.9 seconds left to make it a four-point game.
Porzingis cut it to 120-119 with a three-pointer with 7.5 seconds remaining. Markannen was fouled intentionally with 6.8 seconds left and he sank both free throws for the final points of the game.
“We’re a team kind of fighting and jockeying for postseason play,” Jack said. “In the Eastern Conference, we have opportunities, but we can’t waste them or keep letting games like this fall by the wayside, like we can just make them up.”
In regulation, the Knicks erased a six-point deficit down the stretch and tied it at 105 with 1:21 left on a Jack jumper.
After Markkanen misfired on a three-pointer, Porzingis had a chance to give the Knicks the lead. But on his way to the basket he lost the ball out of bounds with 51.3 seconds left. Later, Porzingis atoned for the turnover, by blocking Markkanen’s layup in transition with 17.2 seconds left.
Chicago rebounded it, but Dunn missed over Jack. The Knicks rebounded and called timeout with four-tenths of a second left. But they didn’t get a shot off. Jack’s side-out-of-bounds lob to Beasley hit the rim and time expired.
“We weren’t able to finish the game,” Porzingis said. “We had many opportunities. We forced things, didn’t take the right shot, turned the ball over or missed shots. It’s all of those things.”