10 Observations: Jalen Brunson lifts the Knicks past the Bulls


10 Observations: Jalen Brunson lifts Knicks past Bulls originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

The Chicago Bulls lost 128:117 to the New York Knicks on Tuesday evening at the United Center, Jalen Brunson was spectacular with 45 points and eight assists.

Here are 10 observations:

—The Bulls have had fewer moments this season. The listless loss to the Boston Celtics in November that left both Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan with injuries and reduced them to 5-14 comes to mind. But as individual sequences go, nothing can top the ridiculousness that unfolded in the first minute of the second quarter.

Andre Drummond picked Bojan Bogdanovic at the top and started a 3-on-0 fast break. Torrey Craig then threw the ball off the backboard in an apparent alley-oop in front of himself. Believing the pass to be a reward for his defensive efforts, Drummond attempted to sink the pass, going over Craig's back and causing him to fall to the ground. Both missed the dunk, causing Coby White, also on the fast break, to throw up his hands and infuriate Billy Donovan on the sideline.

To make the scene worse, Drummond then went to the other end and rolled heavily with his left ankle onto the foot of Isaiah Hartenstein. Drummond writhed on the floor in pain, immediately went to the locker room in a wheelchair and did not return.

—Craig then appeared to further anger Donovan by calling Brunson a foul late in the third quarter and getting whistled for a technical foul.

—The Bulls finished 20-21 at home. But even with the loss, the Bulls' magic number dropped to two after Atlanta lost to Miami in double overtime.

—Ayo Dosunmu missed the game because of a right quadriceps bruise he suffered Sunday in Orlando. Donovan said it worsened in the following days and he doesn't yet know a timetable for the guard's return.

—Coby White broke Zach LaVine's single-season record for most 3-pointers in a season with 205Th in the final seconds of the first half.

—Donovan didn't like the defensive start at all in both halves. He called a timeout less than two minutes after tipoff in the first half when the Bulls suffered three shutouts on their first four possessions. Brunson scored 15 points in the opening period and the Knicks had 68 points at halftime.

In the second half, Donovan called a timeout at 9:40 of the third period as the Knicks went on a 10-2 run to build a 14-point lead.

—With Dosunmu out, Jevon Carter played rare minutes in the first quarter, hitting five 3-pointers in six minutes. Unfortunately he only did one. Carter did not play Sunday in Orlando despite Alex Caruso being sidelined, and played sparingly throughout the regular season. Carter stopped playing.

—The first half ended with a wild series of three three-pointers in the final 6.3 seconds. After Nikola Vucevic sank a three-pointer, White stole Brunson's inbounds and sank a difficult, off-balance three-pointer to break LaVine's single-season franchise record. But then Donte DiVincenzo sank a 45-footer to beat the halftime siren.

—With Drummond injured, Adama Sanogo came in for third-quarter minutes and a short rest for Nikola Vucevic, who finished with 26 points, eight points behind team leader DeRozan. If Drummond is unable to return for next week's play-in tournament, the Bulls' undermanned roster will be further tested.

—Brunson posted his fourth straight 30-point game and his second straight 40-point game. What makes it even more impressive is that first-team All-Defense member Alex Caruso selected Brunson as his primary assignment.

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