Knicks looking for first win as they host Bulls

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The Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks endured similar experiences Saturday night by getting blitzed in their home openers against upper echelon Eastern Conference opponents.

After ugly showings in their respective home openers, the teams hope to deliver better efforts Monday night when the Bulls visit the winless Knicks.

Both teams are playing their fourth games of the season, and their third contests produced ugly results on the end of a back-to-back.

After splitting games in Charlotte and Memphis, Chicago shot a dreadful 29.9 percent in a 108-84 loss to the defending champion Toronto Raptors with no player scoring more than 12 points. The Bulls led by five in the second quarter but allowed a 17-4 run before halftime and trailed by as many as 26 and got dominated on the glass by a 59-45 margin.

“We didn’t put our foot on the pedal, we didn’t do a good job,” Bulls coach Jim Boylen said after his team allowed Toronto to shoot 61 percent in the decisive third quarter. “We turned it over, we turned it over, we subbed, and then we turned over it again. We kind of got them back in the game. I thought we could’ve maybe extended that thing to 10, maybe to 11, and the game changes.”

Wendell Carter Jr. led the Bulls with 12 points and 11 rebounds, but Zach LaVine was held to 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting from the floor after getting 37 Friday. Lauri Markkanen also was held to nine points for the second consecutive night after totaling 35 in the season opener.

At least the Bulls can say they own a win. The Knicks are 0-3 after getting dominated in the fourth quarter of a 118-95 loss to the Boston Celtics. After single-digit losses in San Antonio and Brooklyn, New York shot 38.8 percent, allowed 36 points off 26 turnovers and got outscored 36-19 in the fourth quarter.

“That was an embarrassing second half that we put forth out there,” Knicks coach David Fizdale said. “We gave up 72 points. First time we got punched and didn’t answer the bell. That’s very disappointing.”

The dismal second-half showing spoiled another productive night from rookie RJ Barrett. Barrett scored 26 points Saturday and is averaging 21.0 points on 51 percent shooting so far.

Barrett’s play is a bright spot on a team whose issues are moving the ball consistently and a muddled point guard situation.

New York finished with 15 assists, marking its second straight game under 20. New York got a combined eight points from Elfrid Payton and Dennis Smith Jr., who were a combined 2-of-10 from the floor while Frank Ntilikina played 18 seconds as fans loudly chanted his name once things began slipping away.

“We don’t trust, we don’t move the ball,” Fizdale said. “And it’s setting our defense back because teams just run out on us from there”

It is possible Fizdale could trot out a different starting lineup as the Knicks look to avoid starting 0-4 for the first time since winning 23 games under Larry Brown in 2005-06.

“It’s three games in,” Fizdale said. “It’s not like 20 games into the season. But other guys will get opportunities. That’s how it will work. You either perform and get it done or you’re not.”

New York is 10-5 in the last 15 meetings with Chicago.

–Field Level Media