NEW YORK (AP)—A 23-point lead wasn’t enough for Chicago coach Scott Skiles— and it almost wasn’t for the Bulls, either.
Skiles was ejected in the opening minute of the third quarter Saturday night, but the Bulls held on to beat the New York Knicks 106-95 to stop a six-game losing streak.
“I didn’t anticipate getting tossed out of the game or anything,” Skiles said. “I’m never afraid to get tossed out because I know Jimmy (Boylan, assistant coach) will do a good job. “It got a little hairy there at the end, but we made enough plays to win.”
Luol Deng led the Bulls with 24 points, including 16 on 7-of-12 shooting in the first half to give the Bulls a 56-34 lead.
Chicago opened the second half with a jumper by reserve Malik Allen, who scored 15 points. Shortly after that, Skiles was ejected after picking up a pair of technical fouls for arguing—with the Bulls leading 58-35.
“The ejection, I deserved. I deserved the second technical,” Skiles said. “I didn’t care for the first one that much. He was joking with me, I joked with him and he gave me a technical. Technically, you’re not allowed to comment.”
Wallace was benched in the beginning of the third quarter for breaking a long-standing team rule on the ban of headbands, which for Wallace has been part of his NBA look along with his down-low inside presence on the court. He wore the headband in the first quarter.
Skiles was not too concerned if his benching of Wallace would cause conflict in the locker room.
“That’s kind of an inside team matter,” Skiles said. “The guys may comment, they may not on it. I don’t know, but I am not going to. I am not concerned about. I don’t know why.”
Wallace didn’t talk much about the headband issue and not starting in the second half.
“We got a win. That’s all I know,” he said. “I don’t know. Coach makes decisions. I just play.”
“I feel like it’s nothing at all. We’re just going to figure it out and move forward,” Hinrich said. “Ben wants to win I think more, just as much as anybody on the team. He’s got a great track record. He’s probably won a lot of games in this league and he’s got a championship.”
Marbury, who’s said throughout the season that he would be much more aggressive, did not attempt a shot and was scoreless after he had only two points in Friday’s victory at Boston.
Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said that Marbury did not participate in the morning shootaround because he was not feeling well.
“I knew in my mind he wasn’t feeling well this morning,” Thomas said. “The pace and the energy of the game, he just wasn’t feeling that well.”
A confused Marbury spent most of the second half on the bench, often sitting with a towel over his head while teammates around him stood and cheered as the Knicks tried to rally.
“Nope,” he said when asked whether he was happy about being on the bench. “I was fine. I didn’t have any openings. I was trying to move the ball and get the ball moving the way he wants us to play. He told me he was leaving me out of the game in the third quarter.”
Chicago’s lead was cut to five points with under two minutes to play, as New York got boosts from reserves Renaldo Balkman and David Lee. But after a turnover by Francis, Nocioni hit a pair of free throws with 1:23 left for a 100-93 lead. Hinrich pushed the lead to 102-94 on a pair of free throws with 53 seconds left.
Ben Gordon scored only seven points for Chicago. He averaged 30.7 against the Knicks last season.
The Knicks played the second half without starting forwards Channing Frye and Quentin Richardson. Frye sprained his left ankle in the second quarter and will miss three to six weeks. Richardson strained his left hamstring in the closing seconds of the period and is day-to-day. … Chicago has won seven of the last eight meetings.