Chicago hadn't had its regular five of Rose, Richard Hamilton, Boozer, Deng and Joakim Noah together since March 5 against Indiana. Hamilton left that game in the opening minutes with an injured right shoulder and only recently returned with his minutes closely monitored, and Rose was hurt a week later in a victory over the Knicks.
Their lack of cohesion was obvious early. Chicago missed 11 of its first 12 shots and perhaps let the struggles affect its usual rock-solid defense. The Knicks started 12 of 16 from the floor, building a 27-6 lead when Shumpert converted a three-point play with 3:30 remaining in the period.
"We should be able to overcome all of that stuff," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "You just have to do the right things. We do the right things, you're not going to have those problems. You're not going to have those turnovers. Simple plays: Protect the ball, keep the ball moving, quick decisions, hit the first open man, sustain your spacing, protect the ball, tuck it on the catch, fight for your space, get your space. Simple."
The Bulls trailed 53-45 at even though Rose and Hamilton shot 2 of 11 and All-Star Deng was 3 of 10 while Anthony repeatedly beat him on his way to 22 points.
NOTES: Lin said before the game he was feeling good after surgery on his left knee Monday but didn't think he could return in time for the first round of the playoffs. ... The Knicks hired former Knicks forward Larry Johnson as a basketball and business operations representative on Sunday. Johnson, who played with the Knicks from 1996-01 and converted a memorable four-point play in the 1999 Eastern Conference finals against Indiana, will focus on player development and be involved in numerous business initiatives. ... Jared Jeffries returned for the Knicks after missing eight games with a sore right knee.
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