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Gordon still Knicks-killer
To no one's surprise, Ben Gordon put away the Knicks again.
He had a lot of help from Kirk Hinrich, who scored a game-high 33 points, but it was Gordon who sank a 25-footer with 31.7 seconds left to give the Bulls their first lead of the second half en route to a 108-101 victory Friday night at Madison Square Garden.
The Bulls trailed by 16 midway through the third quarteragainst the worst team in the NBAbefore they got their act together.
Gordon scored 32 points. He was so good, it led Bulls coach Scott Skiles to wonder why he raises his game several notches in New York like nowhere else. He scored 28 here with seven three-pointers in late November.
"He can be as good as there is when he wants to," Skiles said. "It's just a matter of him having that type of mind-set consistently, because clearly something happens to him when he comes here to play.
"You have to be able to do it in other places. It's something that most players struggle with, their mental focus and consistency."
Gordon's comfort level at the Garden comes from playing there while starring for Connecticut. Plus, the Garden isn't far from his hometown of Mt. Vernon.
"I'm always able to dig deep down and muscle some extra energy to come play in the Garden," he said.
But Gordon agreed with Skiles on this: He can't be this dependable only in the Big Apple.
"I have to step my game up if I want to be an All-Star-caliber player," he said. "That's something I'm slowly learning. I just have to keep working on it."
Steve Francis led the Knicks with 18 points, but he committed a costly turnover with his team down 102-101 a few seconds after Gordon's backbreaking three-pointer.
The ball ended up in Luol Deng's hands. Deng was fouled and made two free throws, as Hinrich did later to give the team a five-point cushion with 17.9 seconds to go.
Until the fourth quarter, the Bulls looked flat-out awful against the Knicks, including former teammate Eddy Curry, who scored 11 points to go with seven rebounds in 23 minutes. Curry still struggles with foul trouble, one reason why the Bulls don't miss him as much as some believe.
Even the Knicks' Malik Rose, who averages 3.9 points per game, had a banner night with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Rose went 11 of 11 from the free-throw line. The Knicks shot 60 percent on three-pointers, including four from Chicagoan Quentin Richardson, who scored 16.
Skiles was asked if he expected the Bulls to struggle so much this season without Curry, whom they traded to New York before training camp opened.
"Well, the team he's with is struggling mightily, I would say," Skiles said.
At 15-43, the Knicks are in danger of living in infamy as the worst team in franchise history. Their president, Isiah Thomas, is being sued by a former employee for sexual harassment, and he is being ripped regularly by the media for his lavish spending.
In short, the Knicks are the laughingstock of the NBA this season.
Friday, the joke was on them again.
Malik Allen sustained a neck stinger in the second quarter, aggravated by the sprained neck he suffered Tuesday against the Timberwolves.
After his team's loss to Memphis on Thursday, Knicks coach Larry Brown went to the hospital, reportedly with chest pain, but was found to have indigestion and was released. "I have chest pain after every bad game," he said.
Tim Thomas signed with Phoenix on Friday, two days after the Bulls released him, and he dressed for the Suns' game against the Magic.