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10 observations: Bulls fall to Knicks to cap 0-2 trip

DeMar DeRozan's 28 points and Coby White's 26 points not enough for shorthanded offense

The Bulls lost their second road game in as many nights.

Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

The Chicago Bulls lost their second road game in as many nights, falling 116-100 to the New York Knicks on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.

Here are 10 observations:

---DeMar DeRozan needs some scoring help. He only scored nine of his 28 points in the second half as the Knicks repeatedly double-teamed him. DeRozan hasn’t posted a 30-point game since he scored 41 against the Bucks in the Bulls’ Dec. 11 overtime loss. DeRozan has averaged 5.9 assists in this stretch. But with Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic sidelined by injuries and Coby White cooling off recently before a return to form against the Knicks with 26 points and 6-for-9 3-point shooting, DeRozan can’t do it himself.

---The Knicks closed the game with a 23-9 run over the final 8 minutes, 29 seconds as Jalen Brunson posted 31 points and 13 assists and Julius Randle added 35 points.

---In a battle of old-school backup centers, Isaiah Hartenstein finished with a career-high 20 rebounds and five blocks as the Bulls repeatedly challenged him at the rim. And Andre Drummond posted his fourth double-double and fifth straight game with 15 or more rebounds while starting for the injured Nikola Vucevic. Drummond finished with 13 points and 16 rebounds.

---The Knicks enjoyed a successful third quarter by only turning it over twice after first-half woes in this department and only allowing four points from DeRozan, who torched them for 19 points in the first half. The Knicks began double-teaming DeRozan on multiple touches, and the Bulls shot just 2-for-9 from 3-point range in the quarter. Jevon Carter continued his recent struggles from 3-point range in his reserve role, missing all three attempts. Ayo Dosunmu also failed to provide much scoring from the bench, missing 10 of 12 shots and five of six 3-pointers.

---Alex Caruso started the game guarding Brunson, spent multiple possessions on Randle and spent his typical time in between diving for loose balls and taking charges. In other words, another night at the office for the first-team All-Defense team member.

---The Bulls led 55-51 at halftime but they left multiple points on the board. The Knicks committed 13 first-half turnovers, but the Bulls only scored 16 points off them. That’s a solid amount for a team that has ranked among the league leaders in points off turnovers all season. But it wasn’t as much as it could’ve been.

In fact, the Knicks ended up scoring 21 points off just 11 Bulls’ turnovers, while the Bulls only managed 18 points off 16 turnovers.

---In perhaps the biggest upset of the night, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau stayed seated for the game’s first two possessions.

---Both White and Patrick Williams started after leaving Tuesday’s loss in Philadelphia early with right ankle soreness. White, who entered 3-for-31 from 3-point range over his last five games, sank his first two and finished 6-for-9 from distance. But Williams, who missed a monster dunk attempt on the game’s first possession, struggled early with four first-half turnovers and five overall.

---Before the game, coach Billy Donovan told reporters in New York that LaVine participated in his third straight contact practice with the Windy City Bulls on Wednesday. That means, barring a setback on the Bulls’ scheduled off day on Thursday, LaVine is trending towards returning from his right foot inflammation on Friday at home against Charlotte. LaVine last played on Nov. 28 in Boston and has missed 17 games.

---This is a huge month for the Bulls, who concluded a back-to-back set of road games on Wednesday. They play 10 of their 15 games this month away from the United Center. And with LaVine’s future the center of intense speculation, this stretch will provide some clarity as they move closer to the Feb. 8 trade deadline.

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