NEW YORK – In a matchup between two of the NBA’s worst teams, the New York Knicks were a little better.
Luke Kornet scored a career-high 24 points, and the Knicks ended a six-game losing streak with a 113-105 victory over the Bulls, who lost for the fifth straight time.
The Knicks, an NBA-worst 15-62, held on after the Bulls (21-57) cut a 28-point lead down to five.
“I just told the guys to hang in. Execute,” Knicks coach David Fizdale said. “Just get the guys to calm down and play the game.”
Kevin Knox added 19 points, Damyean Dotson had 18 and Emmanuel Mudiay scored 17 for New York.
Robin Lopez led the Bulls with a season-high 29 points. JaKarr Sampson scored 22, and fellow reserve Ryan Arcidiacono had 14.
New York took its largest lead of the game at 59-31 on Mitchell Robinson’s free throws with 6:04 left in the second quarter.
“We were moving the ball, getting out in transition and playing together,” said Dotson, who was 6 of 7 from 3-point range. “When we move it like that, we get more shots and we are more efficient.”
The Bulls pulled to within 17 points at 64-47 at halftime.
The Bulls drew within single digits for the first time since midway through the first quarter when Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot hit three free throws to make it 93-84 with 9:24 remaining.
The Bulls then cut it to 94-89 on Walter Lemon Jr.’s layup with 7:51 left, but the Knicks responded with the next six points and went on a 9-2 run to re-open a double-digit lead, 103-91.
“The lesson is we have to start better,” Bulls coach Jim Boylen said. “I thought their halfcourt pace to start the game was better than ours. I thought their ball movement was better than ours, and then we kind of figured it out after that.”
The Bulls got as close as 112-105 on Sampson’s two free throws with 46 seconds left, but they did not score again.
Robinson added 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Knicks.
Wayne Selden Jr. scored 11 points, and Luwawu-Cabarrot finished with 10 for the Bulls, while Shaquille Harrison had 10 rebounds.
Kornet was 8 of 11 from the field and
5 of 7 from beyond the arc as the Knicks shot 47.4% on 3-pointers and 50% overall.
All of the Bulls’ top scorers are out with injuries. Zach LaVine (23.7 ppg) missed his sixth game with a right thigh bruise and right patellar tendinitis. Lauri Markkanen (18.7 ppg) has missed three games while undergoing medical assessment. Otto Porter Jr. (17.5 ppg) has missed seven games with a right rotator cuff strain and Kris Dunn (11.3 ppg) has missed four games with a mild back strain.
Robinson blocked three shots and has 150. He has recorded at least one block in 34 straight games and has already set the Knicks franchise record for most blocks in a season by a rookie. The last time he failed to block a shot was on Dec. 12 against the Cavaliers.
Lopez made his 32nd start of the season. The rest of the Bulls’ starters: Selden (9), Harrison (7), Luwawu-Cabarrot (3), and Lemon (1) have started a total of 20 games for the Bulls.
Bulls: Chicago visits Washington on Wednesday.
Knicks: New York visits Orlando on Wednesday.