1:00 PM ET, March 2, 2014
United Center, Chicago, IL
Joakim Noah's triple-double leads Bulls to easy win against Knicks
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bulls were open all over the floor, so Joakim Noah kept collecting assists. Jumpers for Jimmy Butler and Kirk Hinrich. A dunk for Taj Gibson, another jumper for Butler, and on and on it went.
The All-Star center put on quite a show.
Noah had 14 assists in his fifth career triple-double, leading the streaking Bulls to a 109-90 victory over the New York Knicks on Sunday.
"It's really all my teammates," he said. "I think we're getting better every game."
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Noah also had 13 points and 12 rebounds in his second triple-double of the season, but it was his deft passing that really stood out. It was the most assists by an NBA center since at least the 1985-86 season and a franchise record for his position.
"What can you say? He is playing MVP basketball," Gibson said. "He is doing everything in all facets of the game."
Chicago had seven players score in double figures and set a franchise record by committing only three turnovers in its ninth win in the last 10 games. The Bulls also reached 100 points for the fourth consecutive game for the first time since Oct. 30-Nov. 5, 2010.
D.J. Augustin had 21 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter as Chicago (33-26) improved to 21-8 since Jan. 1 and a season-high seven games above .500 overall. Butler scored 19 points and Carlos Boozer had 14.
"We've hit a stretch where we have guys that are healthy playing that I think they know what to expect from each other," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "I think they're playing to their strengths."
While the Bulls are galloping through the weak Eastern Conference, the Knicks are floundering.
"It's embarrassing," Anthony said. "It's frustrating and it's embarrassing."
Swingman Iman Shumpert had three points on 1-for-6 shooting in his return to the lineup. He missed five games after he sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee during New York's 98-91 victory over New Orleans on Feb. 19.
Noah rolled his right ankle at the beginning of the second half and got it re-taped before coming back in at the start of the fourth quarter. He heard more chants of "M-V-P! M-V-P!" when he went 1 for 2 at the line to make it 89-70 with 9:26 to go.
There were more loud cheers when Jimmer Fredette checked in with 3:08 left after joining the Bulls earlier in the day. The sharp-shooting guard drilled a long jumper on his first shot, making it 107-83 with 2:16 remaining.
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Fredette, the 10th overall pick in the 2011 draft, was bought out by Sacramento on Thursday and cleared waivers on Saturday. His contract with the Bulls covers the rest of the season.
"It was great. I mean, these guys did a great job the whole game and got a big lead and I was able to get into the game," Fredette said.
Led by Noah, the Bulls jumped all over the Knicks right at the start. He capped Chicago's opening 16-1 run with a driving layup and rebound tip-in.
It just kept getting worse for New York, which shot 32 percent from the field in the first quarter. Butler scored 10 points and also found Gibson for a big dunk as Chicago jumped to a 37-16 lead, setting a season high for points for the opening period.
"They came out with more energy than we did, took advantage of us," Chandler said. "On the defensive end, backdoor cuts that pretty much changed the game."
The lead grew to 25 early in the second before Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire started to heat up. Anthony made a nice pass to Stoudemire for a reverse layup that got New York within nine with 3:33 to go.
Anthony drove the baseline for a smooth jam, but Noah found Butler for a jumper that lifted Chicago to a 59-48 halftime lead. Noah had 11 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds at the break.
"You can't come on the road and start like that and expect to win," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said.
Anthony has said he plans to become a free agent this summer, and there was at least one sign calling on him to come to Chicago. "I can't see next year," Anthony said. "I can't even see tomorrow at this point." ... Stoudemire and Tim Hardaway Jr. had 14 points apiece for New York. ... The Bulls improved to 14-2 this season when they score 100 or more points. ... The Bulls and Knicks have one more scheduled meeting, on April 13 in New York.
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 2: Jimmy Butler #21 of the Chicago Bulls passes the ball against the New York Knicks on March...(Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
Around The Association
MVP: It wasn't Thanksgiving, but Joakim Noah carved the Knicks up like a roast turkey Sunday. The Bulls center recorded the fifth triple-double of his career, finishing with 13 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high 14 assists. Playing with a sprained right ankle, Noah recorded the most assists by a center since 1979.
X factor: In their win over the Knicks, the Bulls took extremely good care of the ball. Chicago turned the ball over just once in the first half and twice in the second, resulting in a season-low three turnovers. In comparison, the Knicks turned the ball over 12 times.
That was ... so Knicks: From the jump, New York came out unprepared to play. The Bulls opened the first six minutes of the game with a 25-6 run over the hapless Knicks. The Bulls would go on to lead by 21 heading into the second quarter and score 37 points, the most points they've scored in any single quarter this season.
Next 5 Games
From Elias: Joakim Noah with 14 assists... FROM ELIAS: He's the first center with 14 or more assists in a single game since Sam Lacey in 1978-79 for the Kansas City Kings.
Joakim Noah set a career high with 14 assists today. It's his fourth double-digit assist game in his last 11 games. He had 3 such games in his first 442 career games.
The Knicks attempted fewer shots in the paint against the Bulls than in any game this season. They were 10-of-19, which also tied the fewest made shots in the paint this season. Of their 79 field goal attempts Sunday, 42 of them were pull-up jumpers with an average shot distance of 18.4 feet from the basket. Overall, the Knicks' average shot distance was 16.5 feet, which is almost 3 feet farther away than their season average.
Joakim Noah dished out a career-high 14 assists while notching his fifth career triple-double Sunday. Six of his assists were directed at a cutter and five led to a catch-and-shoot.[+]
Joakim Noah as Playmaker, Sunday
The Bulls committed only three turnovers Sunday, the fewest for any team in a game this season.[+]
Joakim Noah is now averaging 4.7 assists per game this season, which would be the most by any center in a season since Brad Miller also averaged 4.7 a game for the Kings in the 2005-06 season.
The Bulls scored 37 points in the 1st quarter, their most in an opening quarter this season and tied for their most in any quarter.
From Elias: The Knicks have allowed triple-doubles in consecutive games (Stephen Curry and Joakim Noah). FROM ELIAS: It's the 4th time ever the Knicks have allowed triple-doubles in consecutive games and the first time since 1965-66 when Wilt Chamberlain had a pair of them in back-to-back games.[+]
In last 4 games, the Knicks are minus 48 combined in the 1st Quarter and have allowed opponents to shoot at least 50 percent in each game.[+]
Knicks Defense in 1st Qtr - Last 4 Games
ESPN Stats & Information