Portis leads late comeback as Chicago Bulls lose to Knicks
The Chicago Bulls knew the Knicks would mount a comeback. They knew Bobby Portis would be fired up to face his old team.
The thing is, the Bulls absorbed all that, watched New York recover from an 18-point deficit to tie the score midway through the fourth quarter, and they had an answer.
Tomas Satoransky dished a pass to Lauri Markkanen for a dunk, Satoransky finished a driving lay-in, then Zach LaVine and Markkanen hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Bulls a 98-90 lead.
And then they sat back, relaxed and watched the Knicks finish the game on a 15-0 run. After dominating New York in the first half, the Bulls suffered another gut-wrenching loss 105-98 at Madison Square Garden.
This looked like it might be an easy win after the Bulls jumped to a 33-15 lead at the end of one quarter. But it turned out to be their second crushing loss in the first six days of the season, joining the season opener at Charlotte, when the Bulls squandered a late 10-point lead.
"We've got to do a better job putting people away," LaVine told reporters in the locker room. "That's a very winnable game and it's upsetting because we keep (giving) away wins. I feel we should be 3-1 right now, but it's flipped around."
Carter offered a similar sentiment after the loss. The second-year center produced the first 20-point and 10-rebound game of his NBA career, but he wasn't happy the Bulls were outrebounded 63-38.
"If we're talking about being a playoff team, we can't have moments like this when we've got a team down by a lot of points and letting them work themselves back into the game," Carter said. "I think we lost by like 25 or 30 on the boards and that's just unacceptable."
Portis led all scorers with 28 points, hitting 10 of 14 shots from the field and all 4 of his 3-point attempts. LaVine led the Bulls with 21 points, while Carter Jr. added 20.
The Bulls were in dire need of a better performance from forward Otto Porter Jr. He perked up in the first quarter, contributing 7 points and 2 rebounds. But the veteran forward finished with 7 points and 3 rebounds.
A Portis 3-pointer tied the score at 88-88 with 6:07 remaining. The Bulls had their nice response and led by 8 after Markkanen's 3-pointer with 3:31 remaining.
They missed every shot the rest of the way and didn't get good looks. The Bulls made a bad mistake, allowing Knicks rookie R.J. Barrett to rebound his own missed free throw and follow it up with a lay in that brought the home team within 98-97.
Then they didn't pick up Portis and he buried a pair of 3-pointers to put the Knicks ahead to stay.
"I'm not disappointed," Bulls coach Jim Boylen said. "I saw a lot of things that we did better. I saw us come together and play the right way for a lot of that game. We're going to learn from our mistakes and we're going to grow. I'm encouraged."
Boylen finished with some praise for Portis, who was drafted by the Bulls in 2013 and traded to Washington for Porter last February. Portis joined the Knicks as a free agent this summer.
"I've always said Bobby Portis is one of my favorite guys of all time," Boylen said. "Tough, competitive guy who works and cares.
"He played great tonight and I'm disappointed we lost and I'm happy for him that he played well. He's a great kid. If every guy in the league's like him, we've got a heck of a league."
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