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Deng scores 24 as Bulls end eight-game road skid

Nov 26, 2006 - 3:26 AM NEW YORK (Ticker) -- With a trip home on the radar, Luol Deng and the Chicago Bulls weren't clowning around against the New York Knicks.

Deng scored 16 of his 24 points in the first half as the Bulls opened a big lead early before ending their seven-game "circus" road trip with a 106-95 victory over the sloppy Knicks.

Kirk Hinrich added 21 points and eight assists for Chicago, which lost the first six games of their seven-game road trip while the circus took the forefront at the United Center.

"We're glad to have the win, obviously," said Bulls coach Scott Skiles, who was ejected early in the third quarter after receiving two quick technical fouls for arguing. "It's nice to end the road trip with a win and we're looking forward to going back home. It got a little hairy there at the end, but we made enough plays to win."

The Bulls, who snapped an eight-game road losing streak, return home Tuesday against the Knicks. That starts a stretch in which they will play nine of 10 at home.

Deng shot 7-of-12 in the opening half, Malik Allen scored 14 points and Chicago turned it over just twice in building a 56-34 lead.

"We came out more aggressive on both ends. Defensively, we didn't let them attack us," Deng said.

The Bulls got plenty of help from the Knicks, who shot 37 percent (11-of-30) and committed 15 turnovers.

"We didn't have much fire. We didn't have much 'go get them,'" Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said. "We didn't have a lot of scrap. They fought harder and they scrapped a little harder."

Hoping to improve upon a 1-5 home record after an impressive 101-77 win at Boston on Friday, New York fell behind early in its third straight home game before rallying late.

"I really can't figure us out at home. We played well out on the road, very aggressive," Thomas said. "We come home in our building and we just don't play the same. You're not going to win a game when you have 25 turnovers and you miss 14 free throws. I'm surprised that we were in the game."

To make matters worse, New York lost forward Channing Frye for three to six weeks with a sprained left ankle. Guard Quentin Richardson did not return after limping off the court at halftime with a hamstring injury. He is not expected to miss any games.

"I'm very concerned. We're already injured with (forward Jared) Jefferies and to have Richardson go down and to have Frye go down, it basically wiped out a good portion of our team," Thomas said. "We'll find a way to fight, to scratch."

The Knicks trailed by double digits the entire second half before coming back behind reserves Renaldo Balkman and David Lee, whose layup with 2:40 left made it 98-89.

"We did a lot of positive things out there, but the one concern we need to have still which we just talked to the guys about briefly is the energy guys are bothering us on the other teams," Skiles said. "We need to take a look at that. ... Guys coming out with some pop and (it) bothered us. We need to look at ourselves and see where we're at because if those guys are bothering (us), it must mean we're not at the energy we need to have."

Balkman had 10 points and 13 rebounds and Lee finished with 12 and 12.

A dunk by former Bull Eddy Curry closed the deficit to 98-93 with 1:46 left, but Steve Francis committed a turnover and Chicago's Andres Nocioni drained two free throws with 1:22 left.

Jamal Crawford scored 16 of his 26 points in the first half for New York, which committed 25 turnovers against just eight for Chicago.

Knicks guard Stephon Marbury did not start the third quarter and did not play in the fourth period. Marbury played just 18 minutes and did not attempt a shot for the first time in his 11-year career.

"He didn't feel good this morning. He missed our shootaround," Thomas said. "I just thought in a game like tonight where we needed some energy, he wasn't feeling that great. We tried it, it didn't work so I just went with the other guys."

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