NEW YORK (AP) The Knicks have won two straight games for the first time in almost two months, and they’re not apologizing for the caliber of their competition.
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 22 points and Michael Beasley added 17 as New York beat the depleted Chicago Bulls 110-92 on Monday night.
”We don’t care who they put out there,” Beasley said. ”They could put a bunch of toddlers out there. Once the game starts, the game starts.”
Enes Kanter had 10 points and 13 rebounds, while Troy Williams added 11 for the Knicks.
Cristiano Felicio scored a career-high 17 points for the Bulls, who were missing their top three scorers and went 3-for-30 from 3-point range. Bobby Portis and Antonio Blakeney scored 16 points apiece.
The Knicks used an 11-0 run to end the second quarter and take a 47-37 halftime lead.
Felicio scored Chicago’s first 11 points of the second half and the Bulls pulled within four, 56-52, on Denzel Valentine’s layup with 7:45 left.
That was close as they would get, as the Knicks followed with a 21-5 stretch and opened up a 77-57 lead on the second of Hardaway’s consecutive 3-pointers with 2:35 left in the quarter.
”We are out there competing,” Valentine said. ”Everybody competes and gives it there all with their minutes, but if the ball don’t go in the basket, you lose. We got 12 more games left and we have to make the most of them.”
New York led 83-67 at the end of the third, and the Bulls got within 10 points midway through the fourth. The Knicks responded with an 11-2 run that put away a win that doesn’t mean much for a team bound for the draft lottery.
”I don’t think it’s for real, like `We’re going to tank,”’ said Kyle O’Quinn, who had of the Knicks’ season-high 61 rebounds. ”But, I think it’s encouraged. You know, why not? But, I don’t think you can get five guys out on the court and tell them to lose as professionals.”
Bulls: Coach Fred Hoiberg said Kris Dunn was being put in a walking boot after he suffered a right toe sprain against Memphis on Thursday. Dunn also missed Chicago’s game against Cleveland on Saturday. … The Bulls had beaten the Knicks in the teams’ previous three meetings this season.
Knicks: Courtney Lee returned after missing Saturday’s game for personal reasons. Lance Thomas missed his second straight game for personal reasons. … The Knicks ended their five-game homestand at 2-3.
MISSING THE POINT
Chicago’s Zach LaVine (16.7 points per game), Lauri Markkanen (14.9) and Dunn (13.4) were out with injuries, while Robin Lopez (12) was dressed but did not play. Nikola Mirotic, who had been leading the Bulls in scoring (16.8), was traded to New Orleans on February 1.
”It doesn’t change the game plan at all,” Jeff Hornacek said. ”We are still trying to do what we are supposed to do offensively and defensively. The scouting report changes a little bit in terms of what you do with Markkanen or what you do with Dunn. So that part changes. Other than that, we are trying. It is not like we have all our guys either.”
HONORING A HERO
During a timeout, the Knicks honored former Army Staff Sgt. Alfredo De Los Santos and presented him with a $10,000 scholarship for his daughter, Josely. De Los Santos lost his right leg when he was wounded in Afghanistan in 2008. He is now a professional hand cyclist who had a 4th-place finish at the 2016 Paralympics.
The Bulls lost to the Cavaliers on Saturday and dropped consecutive games for the first time since Feb. 26-27. The Knicks, who beat the Hornets on Saturday, won consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 26-30.
Denzel Valentine is the only player on either team who has played in every game this season. He has started 34 of the Bulls’ 70 games.
Bulls: Host Denver on Wednesday.
Knicks: Visit Miami on Wednesday.
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