Inquirer Daily News

Stampeding Bulls make to stop in MSG

(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Knicks are out of the postseason, but they'll begin to play out the string Sunday night when they welcome the red- hot Chicago Bulls to Madison Square Garden.

The Knicks needed to win their last three games and have the Atlanta Hawks drop all three left on their schedule in order to return to the postseason.

When the Hawks beat the Miami Heat in Atlanta Saturday night, the Knicks were on the outside looking in.

New York did all it could on Friday with a 108-100 victory over the Raptors at the Air Canada Centre.

Carmelo Anthony scored 30 points with eight rebounds to lead the way for the Knicks. Amar'e Stoudemire deposited a season-high 24 points with 11 rebounds and J.R. Smith added 15 points in the win.

"Again, Atlanta has to lose the next three games and we have to win the next three games," said New York coach Mike Woodson. "That's the only way we got to get in. We had to grind this one out. It was a total team effort."

The mindset was right, but the Knicks couldn't control what the Hawks did.

Raymond Felton added 12 points while Iman Shumpert chipped in 11 in a reserve role.

The Knicks forced the Raptors to shoot under 40 percent from the floor and committed only eight turnovers compared to double that amount from Toronto.

New York will have a tall order ahead of them in knocking off the Bulls. Yes, the Knicks are a disappointing 17-22 at MSG this season, but also, Chicago is in the midst of a seven-game win streak.

Chicago hasn't lost since a home setback against the Portland Trail Blazers on March 28. During that time, the Bulls have also won four straight as the visitor.

The Bulls have inched past the Raptors for third place in the Eastern Conference. Chicago leads by a game, but the Bulls have guaranteed themselves at least the fourth seed and thus, homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

On Friday, the Bulls made the Detroit Pistons victim No. 7 in a row with a 106-98 home victory. It's the longest winning streak for the Bulls since capturing eight straight, Feb. 20 - Mar. 7, 2012.

D.J. Augustin had 12 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter, while Joakim Noah tallied six points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, Carlos Boozer supplied 18 points and seven boards and Taj Gibson netted 11 of his 17 points in the final frame for Chicago.

"You have to win games differently. Obviously the rebounding and defense wasn't there, but I thought the offense was," Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said.

The Bulls have taken two of three from the Knicks this season, but both victories were in the Windy City. Chicago has won two of its last three in Madison Square Garden and seven of its last eight overall versus New York.

04/13 10:17:10 ET