Knicks lock up No. 2 seed in Eastern Conference with 120-119 overtime win over Bulls


In what can only be described as an appropriate ending to a magical Knicks season, New York captured their 50th win and the East’s second seed with a 120-119 overtime victory over the Chicago Bulls.

Jalen Brunson led the way with another virtuoso, scoring 40 points, securing eight rebounds and dishing seven assists in the victory. Donte DiVincenzo added 25 points on five threes.

Chicago got major contributions from DeMar DeRozan with 30-5-5, Nikola Vucevic with 29 points and 11 rebounds on 19 shots and Coby White scoring 26 on 18 shots.

Here are some takeaways…

– The game began as a close affair. Vucevic got going early with an open three, but the Knicks forced some early turnovers to create easy buckets of their own. DiVincenzo got off to a hot start with 10 points, including a backdoor cut for a one-handed slam. New York led 18-14 midway through the period, but a couple late scores from DeRozan cut the Knicks lead to 29-28 after one.

– Chicago took control in the minutes Brunson sat. A little above the midway mark, Josh Hart went down with a turned ankle, but quickly emerged from the locker room to return to the bench. Brunson returned with Anunoby, leading a small Knicks comeback to regain the advantage. Hart soon returned looking unfazed.

– DiVincenzo continued his cooking on and off the ball, finishing the half with 17 points on 7-11 shooting from the field, as the Knicks led 50-47. This despite Brunson looking shaky in the opening half, shooting 5-15 from the field for 12 points.

– The All-Star point guard quickly turned it around in the third quarter, scoring ten points in the first four minutes of the second half. The Knicks failed to create much separation with Vucevic hitting back with old-school moves in the post for consecutive buckets. With the game tied at 64 midway through the third, neither team could find an edge. The Bulls took advantage of New York’s sloppiness and Hart’s foul trouble in the final minutes of the period to go up 82-76 heading in the fourth.

– The Knicks tried to get Anunoby’s offense going with Brunson on the bench to start the final frame. He finished an and-one and hit a three, but the Bulls continuously had a response. Nearing the midway point of the quarter, back-to-back McBride jumpers and big stops on the other end led to a Bojan Bogdanovic three that cut the Bulls lead to one, igniting the Garden.

Down two with four to go, Brunson caught an offensive rebound on the perimeter, drove and rose into an and-one banking mid-range jumper, re-taking the lead at the stripe. After some back-and-forth, the game was tied at 109 with 29 seconds remaining. Anunoby shut down a DeRozan one-on-one, and Brunson missed a buzzer-beating game-winning attempt on the other end, sending the same into overtime.

– Brunson dominated crunch time to this point via his usual pick-and-roll and isolation attacks, but made headway in overtime with his passing. First a handoff set DiVincenzo up for three, then he found Precious Achiuwa for an open lay-up to go up four in the extra period. The Bulls wouldn’t go away though. DeRozan finished an and-one to cut the Knicks lead to one with 43 seconds remaining.

Brunson was doubled on the other end, swinging to DiVincenzo, whose missed layup was followed up and in by Hart. After a quick Bulls two, the Knicks turned over the ball on the inbounds. DeRozan had one more chance for the win, going to the swing-step against Achiuwa and the help from DiVincenzo, coming up short.

Who was the MVP?

Brunson.

Highlights

Upcoming schedule

The Knicks will play the winner of the Play-In Tournament matchup between the seventh-seed Philadelphia 76ers and eighth-seed Miami Heat.



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