Wizards

Bulls end Knicks' 5-game winning streak

Bulls end Knicks' 5-game winning streak

CHICAGO (AP) Marco Belinelli and Luol Deng scored 22 points apiece as the Chicago Bulls beat the Knicks 93-85 on Saturday night, snapping New York's five-game winning streak.

Belinelli scored 15 points in the first quarter, while Deng had 10 in the fourth, giving the Bulls their first three-game winning streak of the season.

Carlos Boozer had 12 points and 10 rebounds for Chicago. One night after putting up career highs of 30 points and 23 rebounds in a win at Detroit, Joakim Noah just missed an odd triple-double, getting 10 points and 11 rebounds but committing a career-worst 10 turnovers.

Raymond Felton led the Knicks with 27 points, matching his season high set on Thursday in a victory at Miami. However, Felton was just 9 for 30 from the field, exceeding his career high for field-goal attempts by six shots.

Tyson Chandler had 14 points and 18 rebounds for the Knicks, who shot a season-low 32.1 percent from the floor and matched a season high with 15 turnovers. It was also a season-low point total for New York.

The Knicks again played without leading scorer Carmelo Anthony, who missed his second straight game because of stitches in the middle finger of his left hand. Anthony, who is third in the NBA with 26.4 points per game, was hurt in a win over Charlotte on Wednesday.

Nate Robinson had 12 points, five rebounds and eight assists off the bench for Chicago, which has won five of its last six and 18 of its last 21 at home against New York.

Chandler's free throws pulled New York within three with 1:56 left, but Belinelli hit a side jumper just inside the 3-point line. Then Belinelli fed Noah for a layup with 56 seconds left, putting Chicago up 89-82.

The Knicks attempted 85 3-pointers over their previous two games, or more than 10 per quarter. They got up just three in the first period against the Bulls, the last one from Rasheed Wallace that tied the score at 23 with 3 seconds left.

However, Belinelli took the inbounds pass and hit a 43-footer as the buzzer sounded, putting Chicago up by three and giving him a 15-point first period. The Bulls, who entered the game last in 3-pointers made and attempted, were 4 for 5 from behind the arc in the opening period.

Belinelli and Kirk Hinrich hit 3s during a 10-0 Chicago run after New York scored the first six points of the game. In a ragged start to the second quarter, the Knicks didn't convert a field goal during the first 5:39 before J.R. Smith's 3-pointer drew New York within 30-27.

After the Bulls pushed the lead to seven points, reserve Taj Gibson was ejected by official Derrick Stafford, drawing two quick technical fouls after being called for this third personal foul, a loose ball foul on the Knicks' end.

Steve Novak converted both technical free throws, sparking a nine-point run to give New York the lead. The Bulls battled back and held a 43-41 edge at the break and maintained their two-point advantage through the third period.

NOTES: Anthony warmed up on the court before the game, then declared himself unable to play due to the difficulty he was having catching passes because of the bandage covering his injured finger. He said he hopes to return to action when the Knicks host Denver on Sunday. ... The Knicks entered the game with the fewest turnovers in the league, but committed 12 miscues in the first half alone, one short of their season high. ... Hinrich began the second half on the bench because of an injured left elbow. His return at the time was termed questionable by the team. ... The national anthem was performed by Krysten Knievel, the granddaughter of 1970s daredevil Evil Knievel.

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How the Wizards have taken Raptors big man Serge Ibaka out of the series on offense

How the Wizards have taken Raptors big man Serge Ibaka out of the series on offense

The Wizards-Raptors first round playoff series has evolved to feature the emergence of several players who started off slowly including Bradley Beal, Marcin Gortat and Kelly Oubre, Jr. The opposite has happened for Toronto big man Serge Ibaka.

After Ibaka lit up the Wizards for 23 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks in Game 1, there has been a disappearance. His scoring has gone missing and it's a big reason why the Wizards have won two straight games and earned a 2-2 series split.

Head coach Scott Brooks knows Ibaka well from their days in Oklahoma City. He helped develop Ibaka and has since watched from afar as his game has changed to include a consistent outside game.

Brooks has on several occasions referred to Ibaka as one of the best three-point shooting big men in the league. The numbers back that up. Last season, he shot 39.1 percent from three on 4.0 attempts per game, excellent for a 6-foot-10 power forward.

This season that number dipped to 36 percent, but he hit 41 percent of his threes in his final 16 games of the regular season. That carried over into the playoffs when he went 3-for-4 in Game 1 as part of an 8-for-11 shooting night overall.

The Wizards made a point to take away those outside shots following their series-opening defeat. The way they are doing that is by crowding him when he gets the ball, even if it means him getting past the initial defender.

"You want to make sure you meet him on the catch. You want to take away his shot," Brooks said. "When he gets open shots, they are money. He's going to knock them down... We did a good job of meeting him on his catch and making him put the ball on the floor with his left hand. You can live with the results."

After his 23-point outburst in Game 1, Ibaka has scored just 20 points total in the last three games. He has gone 2-for-6 from three.

The Wizards are taking away his shot attempts in general. He took 11 shots in each of the first two games of this series, but just four in Game 3 and five in Game 4. In Game 3 he had three points and three turnovers and on Sunday he had seven points and four turnovers.

Here are two examples of the Wizards' defense on Ibaka. On this first play, Markieff Morris meets Ibaka as soon as he catches the ball and the result is a turnover:

On this next play, Morris follows Ibaka all the way to the rim and even though he goes up on a pump fake, Morris recovers to alter Ibaka's shot and force a miss:

The Wizards, however, did get away with one against Ibaka. He was left wide open for a three in the final minute, but the shot rimmed out:

As the first two plays demonstrate, Morris deserves a lot of credit for the Wizards' success against Ibaka. He has the size and mobility to keep up with him and is willing to use contact to his advantage.

"Just playing the tendencies," Morris said. "We're making them do things they are uncomfortable with and are getting better results."

Ibaka was fourth on the Raptors this season in points per game and third in shot attempts. He is their third option behind All-Star guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. If the Wizards can continue to lock up Ibaka, it will be difficult for the Raptors to beat them.

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MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

OUBRE IS HELPING THE WIZARDS WIN IN MANY WAYS

WALL WAS DUNKING ALL OVER RAPTORS BIG MEN

MUST-SEE MOMENTS FROM GAME 4 WIN

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Death Row D.C. and the Wizards are back

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Death Row D.C. and the Wizards are back

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller were joined by Julie Donaldson to break down the Wizards' wins in Games 3 and 4.

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and Marcin Gortat are back and the Wizards are a different team because of it. Plus, how regaining their Death Row D.C. mentality has changed this series.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!