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Knicks have bad start, worse finish in blowout loss to Bulls


Friday, January 1, 2016, 10:29 PM

Jimmy Butler and the Bulls put the game away in the fourth quarter in Friday's rout of the Knicks.Gary Dineen/NBAE/Getty Images

Jimmy Butler and the Bulls put the game away in the fourth quarter in Friday’s rout of the Knicks.

CHICAGO – Jan. 1 started for the Knicks with one of their players recovering from a bullet wound, their coach being called a “snitch” who should’ve “taken his ass-whooping like man” and, not long after their first game of 2016 tipped off, a 16-point deficit within seven minutes.

Happy New Year. The Knicks better hope this is a lowpoint.

There were moments in that dreadful first quarter Friday when the Knicks turned the ball over because they couldn’t decide who was throwing the inbounds pass, when Chicago’s mascot Benny the Bull unloaded two cans of silly string on the head of a Knicks fan, and when New York missed its first 10 shots.

Carmelo Anthony’s team recovered enough to make it semi-interesting Friday, but not enough to prevent its fifth loss in six games, 108-81, to the Bulls. The Knicks led for all of two minutes of the third quarter in this game, and then they disintegrated down the stretch, rolling over to a Bulls team (19-12) without injured Derrick Rose and Fisher clearing his bench for an extended garbage time. Chicago killed the game with a 31-8 run in the fourth quarter.

The Knicks (15-19) shot only 37 percent, with two familiar culprits — Kristaps Porzingis (4-for-14 with nine points) and Carmelo Anthony (8-for-18 with 20 points). They weren’t as aggressive as Chicago, getting to the foul line eight times fewer. Their defense wasn’t as crisp. For the 15th time in 21 games against teams with winning records, they weren’t good enough to win.

Jimmy Butler paced the Bulls with 23 points, steering the blowout with assists from Nikola Mirotic (17 points, seven assists) and Pau Gasol (17 points, eight rebounds).

A microscope has been placed over the social lives of Knicks players, a product of two occurrences in the last two weeks of late-night revelry turning into robberies – including one violent.

Still, Fisher said he didn’t place any restrictions or curfews on the Knicks for their New Year’s Eve in Chicago. He then noted that everybody made it to the Friday morning shootaround at the United Center without incident.

“I’m not worried about our group. We got back to work. We had a good session this morning. So I think everybody is excited about playing a good game against a good (Chicago) team,” the coach said. “Guys are adults. We’ve had conversations in general just about the climate that we’re in but guys still made decisions that they saw fit (for New Year’s Eve). And this morning there were no issues.”

The Knick have a lot going on in the background, beyond basketball, and for whatever reason they came out flat and finished worse. Fisher’s embarrassment from training camp continued as Matt Barnes turned to Instagram on Friday to reference his physical altercation with the Knicks coach from October, calling his foe all sorts of nasty things.

“I literally don’t have any thoughts about it at all,” Fisher said, before overseeing a dud from the 2016 Knicks.

Daily News – Sports

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