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Bulls romp to virtually end Knicks' playoff hopes

Apr 11, 2007 - 6:02 AM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- Ben Gordon and the Chicago Bulls made sure the New York Knicks would enter the NBA draft lottery.

Gordon scored 23 points and handed out seven assists as the Bulls hammered the Knicks, 98-69, virtually eliminating New York from the postseason.

Luol Deng had 15 points and Kirk Hinrich added 13 for Chicago (47-32), which has won nine of 11 vs. New York and continues to maintain second place in the Eastern Conference, one-half game ahead of idle Cleveland (46-32).

"We did well to put the game away early," Deng said. "It's a good win. It is important because we want to finish second."

It was the second-lowest output by the Knicks this season, one point ahead of the 68 they tallied at Cleveland on March 23. New York had 10 points at the end of the first quarter and 27 at the break - its lowest scoring half in more than four years.

"It wasn't our night, they had a little more firepower than we did," Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said. "Our guys tried to give me everything they had and tonight it wasn't enough."

It also was the worst beating the Bulls have handed the Knicks, who trail the Orlando Magic by 4 1/2 games with four games left in their season. Orlando has five games remaining.

"I thought we were very active and our defense was sharp," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "We moved the ball and took advantage of their mistakes. Our game plan was to go inside and we did a good job with that."

Gordon connected on 8-of-14 from the field and Hinrich was 3-of-4 from 3-point range for Chicago, which shot 47 percent(39-of-83) and also received 10 boards and five assists from Ben Wallace.

"We still have to take care of business, not worry about the seeds," Wallace said.

Nate Robinson scored 24 points but leading scorer Eddy Curry matched a season low with four for New York, which shot a miserable 37 percent (26-of-70) and has lost five straight here.

Curry drew two early fouls in the first quarter to negate the Knicks' low-post offense in the first half.

"It was tough," Curry said. "You get all fired up for a big game with a lot of emotion built up, then all of a sudden two quick whistles and you are on the bench. That will stay with me all night long."

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