New York center Patrick Ewing, often criticized for inconsistency, has been consistent on the last two Christmas Days.
Ewing, who scored 32 points in a 113-104 double-overtime victory over Boston last Dec. 25, also grabbed a game-high 17 rebounds against the Bulls.
"It doesn't matter to me what day it is," said Ewing, who scored 11 points in the fourth quarter when the lead changed hands nine times. "The important thing is that we won."
After Dave Corzine's three-point play with six seconds remaining had given the Bulls an 85-84 lead, Trent Tucker attempted a three-point field goal with three seconds left. The rebound bounced off Chicago's Gene Banks and out to Ewing, who followed it in from 10 feet to give the Knicks their first victory in a game decided by three points or less this season.
It also is the first time New York has won two consecutive games since March of last season. The Knicks (7-21) defeated San Antonio Monday night to snap an eight-game losing streak.
"We're on a roll now," Ewing said. "I just hope it continues."
Chicago Coach Doug Collins expected to win the game after Corzine's free throw. "I feel exhausted," Collins said. "We had the game won and let it get away."
Chicago was led by Michael Jordan, the National Basketball Assn.'s scoring leader, although his 30 points were 8 under his average and although he failed to score in the final 5 minutes 15 seconds.
Jordan made only 10 of 28 field-goal attempts, but he kept the crowd of 15,811 cheering with some spectacular plays, including a dunk over Ewing in the fourth quarter. Jordan had set a Madison Square Garden record when he scored 50 points on Nov. 1.
The Bulls (13-13) made only 31 of 79 field-goal attempts as they scored their fewest points this season.
Washington 102, Philadelphia 97--Moses Malone, in his first game in Philadelphia against his former team, scored 28 points and had 21 rebounds to lead the Bullets.
Malone, traded along with Terry Catledge to Washington for Jeff Ruland and Cliff Robinson, received a standing ovation that lasted nearly a minute when he was introduced before the game.