Noah recorded his fifth career triple-double and set a franchise
record for assists by a center, leading the Chicago Bulls to a
109-90 victory over the Knicks at the United Center.
Noah finished with 13 points, 14 assists and 12 rebounds for his
second triple-double of the season and fifth of his career. It was
his fourth double-digit assist game since Feb. 6. As a team, the
Bulls piled up 30 assists to go with a franchise-low three
"We're not satisfied with where we're at right now," Noah said. "We
just want to get the highest seed possible because when the playoffs
come, we want to play in this building."
Guard D.J. Augustin led the Bulls with 23 points, while guard Jimmy
Butler added 19. The Bulls placed seven players in double figures.
Chicago is now 21-8 since Jan. 1 and has won nine of its last 10
games. The Knicks have dropped six in a row and fell to 2-20 at the
United Center since 2001-02.
"At the end of the day, I worry about winning and losing. I love the
fact that we are playing together and sharing as a team," Bulls
coach Tom Thibodeau said. "When you get a group that makes that type
of commitment, something special can happen."
The story of the game was a scorching hot start by the Bulls, who
jumped to leads of 16-1 and 25-6 in the opening quarter. New York
got as close as nine points in the second quarter, but the outcome
was never in much doubt.
"They got us off to a bad start," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said.
"They came and they hit first. We didn't respond until the second
quarter. We were able to get back in it, but the damage was done.
They had set the tone."
The Bulls (33-26) scored at least 100 points for the fourth straight
game for only the second time since hiring Thibodeau as head coach
Forward Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks (21-39) with 21 points.
Anthony can opt out of his contract and become a free agent this
summer and there has already been speculation that he will consider
Chicago for a new home.
The Bulls have been rolling, despite losing Derrick Rose to a knee
injury in November and trading top scorer Luol Deng to Cleveland on
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Noah turned his right ankle early in the third quarter as he drove
to the basket and was lightly pushed by New York forward Amare
Stoudemire. After a few minutes on the ground, Noah shot the free
throws and stayed in the game. He headed to the locker room a few
minutes later, but returned to the game.
Asked about his soaring assist totals, Noah deferred to his
"I think it's just my teammates trusting me and giving me the ball
at the top of the key," he said. "I'm touching the ball a lot and
it's giving me confidence that my teammates are looking for me to
make plays and I feel comfortable doing that."
Stoudemire, who scored 14 points, fouled out with eight minutes left
when he was called for setting an illegal screen on Augustin.
Fans at the United Center enjoyed the Chicago debut of guard Jimmer
Fredette, who signed with the Bulls early Sunday. The former
Sacramento Kings player checked in to a loud ovation with 3:06 left
and drained his first shot attempt, a pull-up 21-footer. Fredette
later missed a 3-pointer to finish with two points.
Woodson received a technical foul for complaining about calls in the
NOTES: Chicago officially signed G Jimmer Fredette before the game.
Fredette was granted a release by the Sacramento Kings last week and
talked about what led him to choosing the Bulls. "I see how this
team plays and they play hard every single night and they play for
each other and they play the right way. That's kind of something I
was looking for," he said. ... Fredette, the No. 10 pick in the 2011
NBA Draft, signed for the remainder of this season and does not have
a contract option for next year. Defense has been a question with
Fredette since his high-scoring days at BYU. "I don't want to
prejudge him in terms of where he is defensively because I don't
know," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "I want to see how he picks
things up." ... New York F Iman Shumpert returned to the lineup
Sunday after missing five games with a knee injury. Shumpert's
return pushed G J.R. Smith back to a bench role. ... Knicks F Amare
Stoudemire was back on the floor after missing Friday's loss to
Golden State with a sore knee.
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