Knicks struggle early, fall to Bulls at MSG
NEW YORK (AP) -- Joakim Noah loved shutting up the chatter almost as much as shutting down the Knicks.
He heard how Carmelo Anthony would come out firing after his suspension, how the Knicks would pay the Bulls back for a tense, testy meeting last month.
Turned out to be the same no contest it was last time.
Luol Deng scored a season-high 33 points in Chicago's third victory over New York this season, a 108-101 win Friday that sent the Knicks to their season-high third straight loss.
''I think it was a big game. A lot of people watching and everybody was saying the Knicks were going to get revenge for what happened last time, nah, nah, nah,'' Noah said, unable to contain his postgame smile. ''And we came back, held it down again.''
Noah couldn't contain his excitement while playing in front of family and friends, even breaking out his gun salute that he vowed to shelve after the shootings at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school, apologetically saying he just got too hyped up.
Topping the 29 points he scored here last month, Deng shot 13 of 18 from the field and also led the defensive effort that contained Anthony in the decisive first half of his return from a one-game suspension.
Carlos Boozer added 17 points for the Bulls, whose offense won't be at full strength until Derrick Rose is back from knee surgery, yet they still shot 57 percent.
Anthony ended up with 39 points for the Knicks, who were roughed up again a night after losing in Indiana. He shot 14 of 32 but said his struggles had nothing to do with Deng and that he simply missed shots he normally makes.
Without starting point guard Raymond Felton and key big men Marcus Camby and Rasheed Wallace, they lack the depth or sharpness on either end they had during their fast start to the season.
''We definitely don't want to lose. We've got to bounce back, take it one day at a time, one game at a time,'' Anthony said. ''Sunday is our next game, New Orleans, and that's a game that we have to go get. It's a must-win.''
Rose is practicing and nearing his return after tearing up his knee in the opener of last season's playoffs. The Bulls have managed to stay among the top teams in the East without him, and three times have outclassed a Knicks team that has been in or near the conference lead all season.
''We've showed it this year, when we really focus and lock in, whoever we play we've been able to play with them, all the top teams, play them close whether we win or lose,'' Deng said. ''We know that when we show up, and you know, stick to the game plan, we can really play with anyone in this league.''
Richard Hamilton had 14 points as Chicago won for the fourth time in five games.
J.R. Smith shot 4 of 17 for his 13 points as the Knicks lost for the fifth time in seven games. Tyson Chandler grabbed 18 rebounds.
The Bulls held the Knicks to then-season lows of 85 points and 32 percent shooting in an eight-point victory in the first meeting, a game Anthony missed because of a finger injury.
He played the second one but was in the locker room before it ended, getting thrown out of a game that featured nine technical fouls and four ejections in a game the Bulls were dominating until the Knicks make it look respectable after all the fireworks were finished.
This one went the same way with Chicago building a 25-point lead before a Knicks flurry at the end made it look close on the scoreboard.
Anthony sat out Thursday's 81-76 loss in Indiana for his postgame confrontation with Kevin Garnett after a loss to Boston here Monday, and Knicks coach Mike Woodson hoped the NBA's second-leading scorer would come out strong.
Instead, Anthony missed 10 of his 14 shots in the first half before nearly ending up with another 40-point game to add to the pair he had last week.
Boozer had his streak of double-doubles snapped at six, but Chicago had more than enough to improve to 9-1 against East teams on the road and 16-5 overall against the conference.
The Bulls scored the first five points and just kept pouring it on from there. They hit 11 of 19 shots in the first quarter, limited Anthony to 1 of 8 shooting and led by as many as 15 before taking a 29-18 advantage to the second.
Having already taken the fans out of the game, the Bulls then turned them on the Knicks. Deng had the last five points of a 17-6 run to open the second that gave Chicago a 46-24 lead, the boos growing with each basket.
The lead peaked at 25 when Deng picked up a turnover and dribbled all the way for a layup, and the Bulls took a 57-36 bulge to the locker room.
Chicago outshot New York 57.5 percent to 29.8 percent in the first half.
Consecutive 3-pointers by Steve Novak and Anthony brought the Knicks within 103-96 with 1:07 remaining, but Marco Belinelli hit five free throws from there to close it out.
The Knicks announced before the game that Camby, who had been starting, would miss two to four weeks after reinjuring his left foot. Woodson started Kurt Thomas in his forward spot and also benched Ronnie Brewer, who had started all but one of the first 35 games, and gave James White his third start of the season.
With Wallace still out with his foot injury and Amare Stoudemire on a minutes restriction as he plays his way back into shape following knee surgery, the Knicks lack the big bodies to face a physical team such as the Bulls.
''Whenever somebody goes down, somebody has to step up,'' Chandler said. ''It's been unfortunate for us because it's kind of been a revolving door, in and out, guys getting hurt and banged up. But that's not an excuse. Somebody has step up and we have to fill the spot as a team.''
Jason Kidd missed all six shots in a dreadful, no-point, no-assists performance.
Notes: Woodson wasn't sure if the Knicks would bring Iman Shumpert with them to London next week for their game against Detroit or leave him back in New York to work out or even play with their NBA Development League team. Shumpert has just been cleared to resume full workouts after tearing his ACL in last year's playoffs. ... Chicago has now won or tied the season series every year since 2001 except 2010-11.