NEW YORK (AP)—The Knicks’ backcourt was depleted, so the Bulls’ backcourt took advantage.
Jamal Crawford scored 28 points and rookie Kirk Hinrich added 19, two below his career best, as the Chicago Bulls erased a double-digit deficit and snapped the New York Knicks’ four-game winning streak with a 104-99 victory Friday night.
“We played well offensively and defensively,” Hinrich said. “I was able to break down the defense and make good shots.”
“We played well enough to win with nine players,” Kurt Thomas said. “We just didn’t execute in the second half or down the stretch.”
The Knicks were up 68-58 following Thomas’ jumper with 6:05 left in the third quarter. But the Bulls went on a 15-3 run to take a 73-71 lead. After falling behind early in the fourth quarter, the Bulls took the lead for good on Marcus Fizer’s three-point play with 7:47 remaining.
“This was a great win for us,” Crawford said. “Everyone stepped up. Everyone played well.”
The Bulls took their biggest lead of the game, 98-91, on Crawford’s jumper with 1:21 remaining. Keith Van Horn answered with a 3-pointer, and after a three-second violation was called on Corie Blount, Charlie Ward hit a 3-pointer from the right corner to bring the Knicks within one.
Eddie Curry, who finished with 14 points, hit one of two free throws with 33.3 left. Shandon Anderson’s driving layup attempt to tie the game went in and out, and Crawford grabbed the rebound and made two free throws.
“That was a well-executed play,” said Ward, who started for Williams. “He got a layup and you can’t ask for anything better than that.”
Ward brought the Knicks within two, 101-99, on a layup with 20.7 seconds remaining, but Fizer made three more free throws for the final margin.
“Marcus stepped up and played well,” Crawford said. “He hasn’t gotten a chance to play as much as he’d have liked and he has really taken advantage of his time.” Fizer finished with 10 points in 22 minutes.
The Knicks only had nine players active for the game, including newcomer Moochie Norris, who had five points in 11 minutes in his first Knicks appearance.
“We can’t make excuses when we have two players out,” said Anderson, who started for Houston and scored 19 points. “It’s frustrating.”
Van Horn, who fouled out with 20 seconds left, led the Knicks with 25 points. Dikembe Mutombo had 15 points and 16 rebounds, and Thomas finished with16 points and 10 rebounds.
The Bulls lead the all-time series between the teams 87-85. … The Knicks had won seven of the last eight games against the Bulls at Madison Square Garden. … The Bulls now have identical 5-11 records at home and on theroad.