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Nate Robinson lifts Bulls over Knicks in OT

Updated: April 12, 2013 9:26AM



Of course it was chippy.

The Knicks and Bulls wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Whether it was Carmelo Anthony drawing the technical for getting in the face of Jimmy Butler in the second quarter or Nate Robinson busting out the “discount double check’’ to taunt the Knicks bench after key three-pointers, the dislike these two teams showed for each other in the previous three meetings wasn’t about to dissipate just because both were short-handed in the injury department.

If anything it was amplified, considering the 13-game winning streak the Knicks were riding into town.

Then again, Chicago is a place where winning streaks go to die, as the Bulls stopped Miami’s chase at history last month, ending their 27-game winning streak here, and kept New York from 14-straight, beating them 118-111 in overtime.

A huge win as far as the playoff seedings go, with the Bulls staying in front of idle Atlanta by a half game, and keeping them in line to play Brooklyn, rather than Indiana. Not a big deal, according to Tom Thibodeau, as the coach downplayed the fact that the Bulls were 3-1 against the Nets this season, compared to 1-3 against the Pacers.

“I know everyone talks about that,’’ Thibodeau said of how the Eastern Conference seedings were shaping up. “To me, you’ve got 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. Sometimes, trying to map it out backfires too.

“You think this is a better matchup. Well, maybe when you played them they had injuries or it was a bad time during the season. You never know. I think sometimes it’s misguided if you start thinking the wrong way and don’t prepare yourself the proper way.’’

Which wasn’t the case against New York. Fresh off a disappointing loss to Toronto, it looked like the spiral downward would continue, especially when the Knicks jumped out to a 17-point lead in the first six minutes of the game.

The Bulls stopped the bleeding and started digging themselves out of the hole, but it was another slow start out of the locker room at the half, this time falling behind by 13. That’s about when the three-pointers started raining down.

First Kirk Hinrich with 2:26 left in the third, then back-to-back threes by Robinson near the end of the quarter to cut it to just two.

Thanks to the 35 points by Robinson, including eight in the overtime, the Bulls pulled away to sweep the season series.



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