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posted: 1/12/2013 12:01 AM

Deng leads Bulls to big win over Knicks

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  • New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony, right, attempts to drive to the basket as he is guarded by Chicago Bulls' Luol Deng, of Sudan, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

      New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony, right, attempts to drive to the basket as he is guarded by Chicago Bulls' Luol Deng, of Sudan, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

  • Chicago Bulls' Joakim Noah loses the ball as New York Knicks' J.R. Smith, rear, swats it away during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Bulls defeated the Knicks 108-101. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

      Chicago Bulls' Joakim Noah loses the ball as New York Knicks' J.R. Smith, rear, swats it away during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Bulls defeated the Knicks 108-101. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

 

This sounds like a good time to pitch a new reality series on TLC or HGTV, titled "Owning New York."

The Bulls went 3-for-3 against the Knicks this season by posting a 108-101 victory on Friday at Madison Square Garden. This was a virtual carbon copy of their Dec. 21 win at MSG, when the Bulls opened a big lead and survived a futile fourth-quarter comeback.

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Luol Deng scored 33 points, the most by a Bulls player this season, hitting 13 of 18 shots from the field. New York's Carmelo Anthony tallied 39 points, but was far less efficient, hitting 14 of 32 attempts.

The Bulls (20-14) torched New York's defense to shoot 57.4 percent for the game. They never trailed after Deng opened the scoring with a 3-pointer and built a 57-32 advantage with just under a minute left in the first half.

Carlos Boozer added 17 points, Richard Hamilton scored 14, while Taj Gibson and Marco Belinelli had 12 each off the bench. Kirk Hinrich returned to the lineup after missing a game with a lacerated elbow.

"Overall, I was very pleased," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "I thought defensively it was very good. The rebounding wasn't quite what we hoped. But a lot of guys stepped up and played well. I thought Jo (Noah) was very active, Carlos did a nice job.

"They went small. We stayed big and our big guys fought and did a good job. It was a balanced effort. We had great ball movement in the first half."

The Knicks did most of their damage in the fourth quarter, scoring 41 points and hitting 6 baskets from 3-point range. But it was too little, too late. The Bulls led by 19 with 2:36 left after a Boozer layup.

Anthony banked in a 3-pointer to make it 106-101 with 11 seconds left before Belinelli iced it with a pair of free throws, then a steal in the backcourt.

"When you look at what happened, there were a lot of good things to build a lead like that and when you build a cushion like that, you can withstand sometimes things not going your way and we did that," Thibodeau added. "The most important thing is getting a win, which we did.

"When you're playing against them, no lead is safe. So you can't let your guard down. We have to learn and improve, but I thought we did a lot of things well."

New York (23-13) has the second-best record in the Eastern Conference, but the Bulls seem to know how to exploit the Knicks' flaws and keep them away from the 3-point line. The home team ended up hitting 11 of 22 3-pointers, but most of those game after the game was out of reach.

The Bulls have seen the gamut of Knicks' lineups. On Dec. 8 at Chicago, Anthony did not play because of an injury. In the Dec. 21 win, Anthony was on the floor, while Amare Stoudemire was still out with a knee injury.

This time, New York had Anthony and Stoudemire (5 points, 1 rebound), while guard Raymond Felton is sidelined with a broken finger.

This serves as further evidence that the Eastern Conference is up for grabs after Miami, and the Heat (23-11) isn't playing very well either.

The Bulls aren't necessarily expecting Derrick Rose to come back from knee surgery and lead a long playoff run, but the opportunity may be there.

mmcgraw@dailyherald.com

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