Julius Randle sustained his fiery form while Jalen Brunson played through a contused right foot and closed out his hometown team as the New York Knicks extended their season-high win streak to five.
Plenty of heroes rose to the occasion for the Knicks to outlast the hard-luck Chicago Bulls, 128-120, in overtime Wednesday night in the front end of a back-to-back schedule at the United Center.
Randle atoned for missing the potential game-winner in the regulation with the kick-out pass that led to Quentin Grimes’ dagger three-pointer in overtime. Then Brunson sealed the win with a stepback trey 36 seconds later to punctuate his auspicious homecoming.
Questionable to play leading to the tip-off, Brunson followed through on his mantra, “If I can walk, I can play.”
The two-time Illinois High School Player of the Year showed out in his homecoming with seven of his 30 points in the overtime.
New York outscored Chicago, 9-2, in the final 3:51 for the gut-check win after squandering a 14-point lead in the first half.
The Knicks’ offense was humming all night as they knocked down 18 of 34 3s, but their defense came alive when the game got tougher down the stretch. They forced the Bulls to miss their last five attempts and one crucial turnover.
Randle led the Knicks with 31 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists. Brunson also had seven assists. Grimes stepped up, especially after RJ Barrett picked up his sixth foul in the final 47 seconds of the regulation. He finished with 14 points built around 4 of 7 shooting from behind the arc.
Barrett had 22 points and six rebounds before fouling out.
DeMar DeRozan led the Bulls with 32 points, including 16 of 17 from the foul line as he willed Chicago’s comeback in the regulation. But Brunson was not to be denied in front of his high school teammates and coach.
“The big thing is just to find a way to win. Take a look at the tape. Make our corrections and then play them again [on Friday]. We know we have to do things a lot better.”Tom Thibodeau postgame via MSG Network
After Randle missed the potential game-winner for the Knicks, he foiled Patrick Williams’ lob off the inbound at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.
The Bulls continued to be the worst team in the clutch after another sorry loss as they fell to 11-16, 1.5 games behind the 10th seed Toronto Raptors.
The Knicks improved to 15-13 and maintained a grip on the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference. They will go for a sweep in Windy City on Friday.
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