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The New York Knicks dropped their second game in as many nights in a lackluster performance against the Chicago Bulls.

This isn’t the first time Tom Thibodeau returned to the Windy City to face his former team — the Chicago Bulls — but it’s the first time he’s done it as head coach of the New York Knicks. Even if Thibs brushed off any notion of added motivation in his postgame press conference on Sunday, any competitor is going to want to win on their old stomping grounds.

Unfortunately for Thibs and the Knicks, Monday was not their night. They played well in spurts, but couldn’t string together enough stops in the fourth quarter to complete a comeback.

Here is the 110-102 loss explained in five gifs.

Sloppy Play Early

The Knicks looked like a team that played the day before when this one started. Sloppy passes, missed layups, and slow defensive rotations were the norm in the first half.

The Bulls took a four-point lead into halftime mainly due to the fact that the Knicks were just a half-step too slow. Oh, and there was one other reason for Chicago’s lead.


Markkanen vs. Randle

Lauri Markkanen put together what might be his best half of the season. He went for 23 points on 8-for-11 shooting and 5-for-7 from deep in the first two quarters. Julius Randle struggled to contain the Finnish sharpshooter, but there was a silver lining — Randle was able to put up enough points to keep the Knicks within striking distance.

Randle’s 18 points in the half were highlighted by a perfect 7-for-7 from the free-throw line. Immanuel Quickley added eight points on 4-for-4 from the charity stripe in the first half, but it was Randle’s rugged offensive game that gave the Knicks some life.


More Immanuel Quickley

Knicks fans who have been clamoring for more Quickley got their wish on Monday night. The rookie didn’t start, but he received the lion’s share of the minutes at the point guard position. He played 30 minutes to just 18 from Elfrid Payton.

Payton is going through it right now. One of the main reasons for keeping him in the starting lineup is his perimeter defense, but even that aspect of his game is lacking as of late. The veteran allowed his man to go right by him or back cut him far too often.

Thibodeau is starting to show more and more confidence in the fearless rookie point guard.


Slow Starters

On Sunday afternoon, the Knicks hung tough with the Clippers in the first half. It was the start of the third quarter where they let Los Angeles wrest away control of the game.

Once again, the Knicks came out slow after halftime, going down double digits with just under five minutes to play in the third. This overachieving Knicks squad can’t afford to have slow starts to games or third quarters. Whether they are playing an elite team like the Clippers or a middle-of-the-pack squad like the Bulls, coming back in the fourth quarter is a tall order.


Missed Opportunities

Although the Knicks came close in the fourth quarter, they missed too many opportunities down the stretch to pull it out. They tied it up at 100 with under a minute left, but threes by Coby White and Zach LaVine would put the Knicks to bed for the night.


The Knicks and Bulls will run it back again on Wednesday night in the United Center. The loss drops the Knicks to 9-13 on the season while the Bulls move to 8-11 with the win.

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