It was like a time-machine movie Monday night at the United Center. When the lights came on, it was 2008. Tyson Chandler was getting every rebound and Eddy Curry was pushing guys out of the way to dunk. Marcus Fizer was backing guys down and Jalen Rose was overseeing it all.
And the Bulls won in the end, 101-94 over the New York Knicks as Chandler had a career-high 19 rebounds, Curry had 13 points in 12 minutes and Rose controlled the game's pace with a game-high 28 points.
The victory gave the Bulls a 14-23 record, 13-7 at home. The Knicks are 13-22 as they head back to New York Tuesday to host the Bulls. The Knicks are 0-7 in the second of back-to-back games while the Bulls have a 16-game road losing streak.
OK, the Knicks aren't exactly the '86 Celtics. But it was a rare night for the Bulls because their plans didn't look like they were drawn by Carrot Top.
"Wow, they played," Rose said of the Bulls youngsters. "They stepped up. Look at Tyson Chandler. He was all over every rebound. Eddy Curry came in and was a force down low. Marcus Fizer was a force scoring (14 points in 18 minutes), especially in the fourth quarter. When we get multiple efforts from a lot of guys, we're a tough team."
Sometimes, though, it's Back to the Present.
The Bulls led by 20 with four minutes remaining. And then they were ahead by five with 30.9 seconds remaining because the Knicks hit six three-pointers before remembering who they were.
"We built a 20-point lead, and thank God for that," Bulls coach Bill Cartwright said.
The first key sequence of the game was a rare Curry highlight show. The Bulls opened the second quarter leading 18-17. It followed a quarter befitting these teams, filled with missed shots, turnovers and poor defense. And those were the positives.
Curry, in a seven-minute stretch, scored 10 points, hit all four of his free throws and grabbed three rebounds. When he left the game the Bulls were leading 37-27.
"I felt real good out there," Curry said. "I felt like I made an impact and it's something I want to look forward to doing. Tonight [Tyson and I] got rolling at the same time."
The Knicks pulled into a 58-58 tie midway through the third quarter before Rose took control. The Knicks, as most teams do, double-teamed only Rose, who remains the Bulls' only consistent scorer. But Rose shook free for a drive, a turnaround jumper, another drive and a pair of free throws on four consecutive possessions to give the Bulls a 68-60 lead.
"[Chandler's] a 7-footer, real long," New York center Kurt Thomas said. "He reminds you of Marcus Camby. He's going to be a tough player in this league. It's just a matter of time."
Chandler then grabbed a Jay Williams miss and slammed it and Curry closed the third quarter with a dunk on the run for a 72-62 lead. The Bulls built the lead to 94-74 behind Rose and Fizer. The Bulls stumbled in the fourth quarter, however, with seven missed free throws.
"If you really look up in the standings, we're right there," Rose said. "If we can find a way to win some road games, we can put pressure on people. This was a team this time last year that had less than 10 wins."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times