Butler, Robinson shine in OT thriller
By Riley Christiano
Bulls Beat Writer
Yet another night for the Chicago Bulls, where coach Tom Thibodeau sent out an injury plagued line-up onto the court to take on one of the top teams in the East, this time they faced the streaking New York Knicks. Coming into tonight, the Knicks have won 13 straight games but the Bulls were more than prepared to take down another elite team. The Bulls welcomed back Luol Deng to the starting lineup after he missed 2 games due to a hip injury.
The Knicks opened the game hot, going on a 23 to 6 run in which they were physically overpowering and shot the lights out in the first quarter. Carmelo Antony had 8 points in the first quarter while Jimmy Butler had 7. It seemed that the Knicks had hold of this game and it was going to be an ugly blowout. The second quarter was very chippy and the Bulls were fighting back. Referee Joe Crawford dealt out three technical fouls, one to Carmelo Antony, one to Nate Robinson and another to Luol Deng. There seemed to be bad blood between the two teams as there were many hard fouls called throughout the game. The Bulls narrowed the Knicks lead to 59-54 behind the emotional play of Nate Robinson.
The second half started with the Knicks extending their lead to as many as 15 points. Chicago had an answer, his name was Jimmy Butler. Butler had a tremendous third quarter with 8 points and two key steal off of point guard Raymond Felton. The fast break offense got the Bulls going. Nate Robinson hit an emotional three to bring Chicago within 2 points. After Robinson hit the shot he mimicked the “discount double check” celebration of Steve Novak and the United Center erupted. The Bulls carried this momentum into the fourth quarter. The Bulls lead grew to as much as 9 in the fourth quarter where New York battled back behind Carmelo Anthony and J.R Smith. With 14 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Anthony hit 2 free throws to tie it up. Loul Deng missed a go-ahead jump shot with 2 seconds left where New York got the ball to Anthony who missed a game winner.
This one was headed to overtime. In the extra quarter, It was all Nate Robinson who dropped 8 points. The Knicks only put up 6 points in the overtime where this blood bath of a game ended with a score of 118-111. Nate Robinson ended with a season high 35 points and Jimmy Butler ended his night with 22 points.