New York Knicks postgame
(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

The New York Knicks got off to a slow start against the Chicago Bulls, but they controlled the second half en route to a win.

A lot of New York Knicks fans will have mixed emotions following this win. Although there were some positives to take from Monday night’s game, the win further cemented the Knicks’ lottery positioning behind Chicago.

Of course, a loss may have helped the Knicks inch further up the lottery, but the good far outweighs the bad from tonight. It’s all about making positive steps forward for the young players on the roster. Guys like Isaiah Hicks and Frank Ntilikina were looking to build off of their excellent games Saturday night against Charlotte.

Both players mixed some good in with some bad. In 21 minutes of play, Hicks scored nine points and collected eight rebounds. He fouled out down the stretch, but everyone knows his defense is something he needs to improve. The best way to do that is by continuing to give him minutes.

Ntilikina and Troy Williams brought some defensive energy off of the bench, and both look like they’re starting to get more comfortable on offense. Speaking of being comfortable on offense, Tim Hardaway Jr. led the way for the Knicks with a game-high 22 points. They signed him to be one of the go-to options on offense. He’s still growing into that role and games like this have to give fans a little bit of hope. Hit a couple more threes, go to the hole when your shot isn’t falling, but that may be nitpicking.

Hardaway led the way, but the Knicks offense was also noticeably balanced. Eight different players scored eight points or more and had 28 assists on 43 shots.

The Knicks actually played passable defense tonight, albeit against a team that is actively tanking and doing so without any shame. They held an opponent to under 100 points for the first time since February 4th. They held the Bulls to a season-low 37 first-half points. Sure, it may have been due in part to Chicago’s dreadful shooting, but there has to be some credit given to the Knicks defense for trying to run the Bulls off of the three-point line. The Bulls were just 2-for-20 from deep in the first round and 3-for-30 for the game.

Maybe a loss would have been slightly more beneficial for the Knicks, but it has been refreshing to see the team playing with more effort than they had been in recent weeks.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.