The New York Knicks lost at home to the Chicago Bulls, their third straight National Basketball Association defeat, and had their Atlantic division lead over the Brooklyn Nets cut to two games.
Luol Deng scored 33 points in Chicago’s 108-101 win last night at Madison Square Garden. It was the Knicks’ second home loss to the Bulls in three weeks, following a 110-106 victory by Chicago on Dec. 21.
Joe Johnson scored 19 points as the Nets won their fifth straight game, a 99-79 victory at home against the Phoenix Suns. Brooklyn now has won seven of eight games since P.J. Carlesimo took over as interim coach when Avery Johnson was fired Dec. 27.
“We’ve just got to try to keep this thing rolling,” Johnson said in an on-court interview at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn after the Nets rallied from an 11-point second-quarter deficit by outscoring the Suns 53-26 in the second half.
Deron Williams had 15 points for the Nets (21-15) despite hurting his right thigh early in the third quarter. Gerald Wallace also was injured for Brooklyn, leaving the game in the first quarter with bruised ribs.
The Knicks (23-13) fell behind by 21 points at halftime and never recovered against the Bulls. Carmelo Anthony, who sat out a loss the night before at Indiana because of a suspension, missed his first seven shots before leading the Knicks with 39 points.
Anthony was suspended for repeatedly confronting Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics following a Jan. 7 Knicks loss at Madison Square Garden.
The Knicks, who have lost eight of their last 13 games after starting the season 18-5, host the New Orleans Hornets tomorrow before heading to London to play the Detroit Pistons on Jan. 17 at the O2 arena.
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