Lauri Markkanen scored 30 points for the second straight game, including a 6/12 night from the three-point line, leading the Bulls to a 110-102 victory over the New York Knicks. Zach LaVine added an additional 21 points as the Bulls had six players score in double digits.
Both Daniel Gafford (12 points, nine rebounds) and Thaddeus Young (13 points, eight rebounds, eight assists) contributed as well, both narrowly missing double-doubles.
Julius Randle led the Knicks in scoring with 23 points while Alec Burks led the way for the Knicks bench, adding 18 points.
Both the Bulls and Knicks came into this one in desperate need of a win. The Knicks had lost four of their last five games, including a loss to the Clippers in which New York gave up a season-high 129 points.
The Bulls were coming off a brutal loss to the Trail Blazers in which the Bulls blew a five-point lead with less than 30 seconds remaining. The loss was the Bulls’ third in a row.
Lauri Leads In First Half
The Bulls got off to a good start in this one, led by Lauri Markkanen. The Finn from Arizona hit his first six shots of the game, scoring 12 points in the first and 11 points in the second quarter. Overall, Markkanen went 8/10 from the field in the first half, helping the Bulls get out to a 59-55 halftime lead.
It was yet another statement made by the fourth-year player that he may be deserving of a new contract. So far this season, Markkanen has posted career highs in points-per-game (19.6), eFG% (.613), FG% (.507), Offensive/Defensive Rating (116/114), and PER (17.7).
It is still a young season and Lauri has only played 11 games, but so far, Markkanen is making a case for a new deal.
Bulls Learning How To Win
A tough loss to Portland over the weekend dialed up the pressure on the Bulls. LaVine, Markkanen, and the rest of the team were trying to prevent a four-game losing streak from occurring for the second time this season.
While the Bulls led for most of the second half, the Knicks certainly did not go away quietly and made it tough for these young Bulls. In fact, an Immanuel Quickly (16 points) three-pointer gave the Knicks a 95-94 lead with 3:32 remaining.
Both teams traded buckets until a Thaddeus Young floater gave the Bulls a 98-97 advantage with 2:34 remaining. An Alec Burks three-pointer tied the game up at 100 apiece but Coby White and Zach LaVine both hit three-point shots in the final minute to extend the lead to six points.
This time the Bulls did hold on and got the victory, improving to 8-11 on the season. The Knicks loss put them at 9-13 in the standings.
What’s On Tap Next
A repeat of tonight’s game as the Knicks remain in Chicago to take on the Bulls at the United Center on Wednesday. Tune in to the Bulls On Tap podcast for further postgame analysis and commentary.