Noah puts up most assists by center since 1985/86 season.
There were seven games on the NBA schedule on Sunday night, with the Chicago Bulls easing to victory over the New York Knicks with a classy display at the United Center.
All-Star center Joakim Noah was undoubtedly the catalyst behind the win, recording 13 points, 12 rebounds and 14 assists for his fifth career triple-double, with his deft passing standing out all game long as he systematically broke down the Knicks.
“It’s really all my teammates,” he said. “I think we’re getting better every game.”
Teammate Taj Gibson believes that he is playing “MVP basketball” and is contributing in all facets of the game, as Chicago had seven players in double scoring figures and set a franchise record for committing only three turnovers in what was their ninth win in 10 games.
D.J. Augustin had 21 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter as the Bulls improve to 33-26, while Jimmy Butler added 19 and Carlos Boozer had 14.
Carmelo Anthony responded with 21 points while Tyson Chandler had 22 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to prevent New York from slipping to their sixth consecutive loss which leaves them at 21-39 for the season.
“It’s embarrassing,” Anthony said. “It’s frustrating and it’s embarrassing,” as he admitted that he couldn’t see tomorrow let alone decide what was going to happen this summer.
There was at least one sign at the United Center urging the star to move to Chicago in free agency, but it remains to be seen what he decides to do.
Elsewhere, Tony Parker returned to action after a six-game absence to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a win over the Dallas Mavericks.
The influential point guard had 22 points and seven assists, while Spurs coach Gregg Popovich will be delighted to have his starters back and healthy as they improve to 43-16, just a game-and-a-half behind Oklahoma City at the top of the Western Conference.
Tim Duncan had 17 points, Kawhi Leonard added 16 while Boris Diaw had 13 points and 10 rebounds as it was a team effort from the hosts who extended their winning streak to three games and look set for an end-of-season push with a full roster.
“Pop, I trust his judgement. I didn’t want to admit it to myself. But maybe I was tired mentally. It’s a lot of basketball the last three years with no break; the (French) national team and NBA. It definitely helped, I felt fresh.”
Meanwhile, the Thunder also picked up a win on Sunday with Russell Westbrook leading them to victory over the Charlotte Bobcats with 26 points and five assists.
Kevin Durant added 28 points to maintain their lead over the Spurs, but coach Scott Brooks will be delighted to see his point guard find his rhythm again and is gradually looking settled after a shaky period for the team.
The Indiana Pacers were also victorious as David West had 25 points and six rebounds in their win over the Utah Jazz, while the Toronto Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors behind 34 points from DeMar DeRozan as Stephen Curry (34 points, seven assists) suffered his first ever defeat against the franchise.
New York Knicks 90-109 Chicago Bulls
Golden State Warriors 98-104 Toronto Raptors
Utah Jazz 91-94 Indiana Pacers
Philadelphia 76ers 81-92 Orlando Magic
Charlotte Bobcats 99-116 Oklahoma City Thunder
Dallas Mavericks 106-112 San Antonio Spurs
Atlanta Hawks 120-129 Phoenix Suns