Just more than 2 weeks ago, the Bulls ended the second-longest winning streak in major professional sports history.
That’s when they snapped the Heat’s 27-game run despite being down four rotation players.
Thursday night at the United Center, sitting out three key pieces this time, the Bulls pulled off an encore.
Posting their first season series sweep over the Knicks since 2004-05, the Bulls snapped the Knicks’ 13-game winning streak with a 118-111 victory in overtime behind another inspired effort from Jimmy Butler and crucial bench scoring from Nate Robinson.
Butler scored 22 points with a career-high 14 rebounds, and Robinson had a team-high 35 points.
The Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony led all scorers with 36 points while J.R. Smith added 28 points and 14 rebounds.
The victory gave the Bulls a half-game lead over the Hawks for fifth place in the Eastern
Conference race with four games remaining.
If the Bulls finish in fifth, they likely would face the Nets, against whom they went 3-1 this season.
If they drop to sixth, a first-round matchup with the Pacers is likely. They dropped three of four to them.
“I know everyone talks about that,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “To me, you have to get your team ready to play. Once you get to the playoffs, you’re not getting around people. You have to play well to beat them.”
The Bulls trailed by 15 points as late as the 4-minute, 51-second mark of the third quarter. But Butler scored on back-to-back breakaway dunks off steals by him and Kirk Hinrich as part of a 16-3 run to close the third.
Star of the game: Carmelo Anthony, Knicks, 36 points, 19 rebounds
Key performers: Nate Robinson, Bulls, 35 points; Jimmy Butler, Bulls, 22 points, 14 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 blocks
Up next: Bulls at Raptors, 6 p.m. today
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