Markkanen, LaVine lead way as Bulls beat Knicks 110-102

CHICAGO (AP) — Lauri Markkanen scored 30 points, Zach LaVine added 17 of his 21 in the second half and the Chicago Bulls beat the New York Knicks 110-102 on Monday night.

Markkanen delivered another blistering performance coming off a season-high, 31-point outing. The 7-footer from Finland made six 3-pointers.

“We all know Lauri’s extremely talented,” LaVine said. “We’re seeing his full game right now.”

LaVine hit a 3 and two free throws during a game-ending 10-2 run. Coby White scored 13, including a tiebreaking 3. Thaddeus Young added 13 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

The Bulls bounced back from a gut-wrenching loss to Portland on Saturday, when the Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard delivered a buzzer-beating, fadeaway 3. Chicago won for just the third time in nine home games this season.

The Knicks have dropped five of six. They lost for the second time in two days after giving up a season-high 129 points to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Julius Randle had 23 points. Alec Burks scored 18 for New York, and rookie Immanuel Quickley added 16.

“We fought hard, we played well in the second half,” RJ Barrett said. “We put ourselves in a position to win the game.”

FINAL RUN

The Bulls were leading 100-97 when Burks hit a 3 for New York with just under a minute remaining. White then nailed one from the corner to put Chicago back on top.

After a timeout, Randle lost the ball. Markkanen got the steal, leading to a 3 by LaVine. Garrett Temple added two free throws with 10.7 seconds remaining to make it 108-100.

“We moved the ball,” Markkanen said. “We got good looks. I think it all started from defense. We were getting stops. That helps our offense.”

As for his turnover, Randle said that was more on him than the defense.

“I just got to slow down,” he said. “They played the play pretty good. I tried to get into some secondary actions with our guards. They kind of blew those plays up. I just tried to go quick with the clock, but just got to take my time and read it. It wasn’t (anything) that they did.”

TIP-INS

Knicks: New York made 6 of 29 3-pointers. …. C Nerlens Noel (sore left groin) scored eight points after missing Sunday’s game. … Coach Tom Thibodeau said F Kevin Knox is out of the rotation for now because the team is fully healthy.

Bulls: Chicago shot 11 of 34 from beyond the arc. … F Otto Porter Jr. played 18 minutes after being listed as questionable because of back spasms. Coach Billy Donovan said he “progressed in a positive way” at shootaround.

SETTLING DOWN

The Bulls called a timeout 50 seconds into the game after turnovers by White and Markkanen. But they steadied themselves after that.

Markkanen was particularly good in the first half, scoring 23 points and hitting 5 of 7 3s as the Bulls grabbed a 59-55 lead.

He made a 3 to cap a 14-2 run in the first quarter that gave Chicago a 10-point lead. He also hit a reverse layup and buried another 3 as part of a 7-0 spurt late in the second quarter that put Chicago up by six before Randle hit two free throws for New York in the closing seconds.

Markkanen hit one from beyond the arc on Chicago’s first possession of the second half, and his feed to LaVine for a dunk in transition made it 72-61 about 4 1/2 minutes into the third quarter.

SERIES-LY SPEAKING

The two teams are scheduled to meet again at the United Center on Wednesday. And count Thibodeau as a fan of these baseball-style series.

“Hopefully, it’s here to stay,” he said.

The NBA implemented the setup with two teams playing consecutive games in the same city to reduce travel in the COVID-19 era.

“I think it makes a lot of sense in terms of cutting down travel,” Thibodeau said. “I think the quality of play is better. And it also gives you that preparation that is similar to the playoffs. I think there are a lot of benefits. It’s good for the fans. It’s good for everyone.”

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