Jeremy Lin, whose meteoric rise from unknown benchwarmer to NBA sensation set the Knicks alight last month, scored 15 points and had eight assists but his impact on the team continues to dwindle as New York fell into a tie with Milwaukee for eighth in the Eastern Conference.
Derrick Rose attacked Lin and the Knicks relentlessly for 32 points and seven assists while the Bulls (35-9) abused New York in the rebounding battle to keep control.
“The whole game they had us on the offensive glass,” Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni told reporters. “We played well for long stretches but the second-chance points got us.”
New York stayed in touch for three quarters and trailed by one point heading into the fourth, but they were overmatched in the crucial closing stages.
The Knicks (18-24), who enjoyed a seven-game winning streak last month, have struggled since Carmelo Anthony returned to the lineup from injury and their schedule has intensified.
Chicago, winners in 10 of their last 11 games, have had no such worries as they sit top of the NBA standings despite nagging injuries.
Luol Deng and Richard Hamilton both missed Monday’s game but the home team picked up the slack with hustle and effort as the Bulls outrebounded New York 56-38 and grabbed 22 offensive rebounds.
Chicago started the fourth with a 12-6 run, punctuated by a drive and monster dunk through the lane from Rose, and held the visitors off the rest of the way.
“I usually don’t dunk it, but I was just mad I wasn’t getting any calls,” Rose said. “No matter who I’m playing against, I’m trying to win the matchup.”
Taj Gibson had 15 points and 13 rebounds off the bench for the Bulls while Carlos Boozer added 15 points.
Anthony finished with 21 and Amar’e Stoudemire tallied 20 for New York in the loss.
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O’Brien)