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Bulls bury Knicks in Fisher's coaching debut

Oct 30, 2014 - 5:44 AM New York, NY ( - Taj Gibson poured in 22 points in 28 minutes off the bench as the Chicago Bulls tipped off a season of high expectations with an emphatic 104-80 victory over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

Getting Derrick Rose back from another devastating knee injury and adding savvy veteran Pau Gasol in free agency has the Bulls stamped as one of the major threats in the Eastern Conference. They did nothing to temper the hype on opening night, shooting nearly 51 percent from the field while stifling New York's offense all evening long.

Both Gasol and Rose made notable contributions to the rout, with the former putting up 21 points and 11 rebounds and the 2010-11 NBA MVP scoring 13 points with five assists in his regular-season return to the court.

"I think it's a lot of pressure off his shoulders because we have, I think, a variety of weapons," Gasol said of Rose.

The Knicks, meanwhile, put up a dud in the head coaching debut of Phil Jackson disciple Derek Fisher. Carmelo Anthony was held to a modest 14 points on 5- of-13 accuracy and the team finished a poor 3-for-17 from 3-point range.

"We will get better. I believe that," Anthony said.

Amar'e Stoudemire was New York's lone other player to score in double figures, managing 12 points along with eight rebounds.

Chicago started off slowly, committing four early turnovers while getting behind 8-2 over the first four minutes of play. The Bulls found a groove later in the opening quarter, however, closing out the period on an 8-0 run that Aaron Brooks started with five straight points to claim a 24-20 edge.

The spurt ultimately became a 21-6 swing as Chicago continued to outplay the Knicks over the early portion of the second quarter, building a 37-26 lead after Brooks drove and scored just over four minutes into the stanza.

A Gibson jumper with 3:30 left in the half extended the Bulls' advantage to 49-34. New York countered with a 9-2 sequence to get within single digits, but Gasol's putback at the buzzer sent the Bulls into the break owning a 53-43 lead.

Chicago then put the game out of reach with a dominant third quarter in which the Knicks were outscored by a 31-17 count. A 15-5 stretch midway through the frame, capped by back-to-back slams from Gasol and Gibson after Kirk Hinrich knocked down a 3-pointer, had the Bulls up by a comfortable 74-54 spread with 16 minutes left to play.

The Bulls kept pouring it on down the stretch, with the lead reaching as high as 35 points before New York closed out the contest with an 11-2 run.

Game Notes

Rose sat out the final 71 games of last season with a torn meniscus and missed all of 2012-13 recovering from a torn ACL in his left knee ... Shane Larkin drew his first career NBA start in place of Knicks point guard Jose Calderon, scratched prior to the game with a strained right calf. Larkin had six points and three assists in 26 minutes ... The Bulls played without starting guard Jimmy Butler due to a sprained left thumb ... Chicago received 55 points from its reserves, with Brooks netting 13 and 2014 first-round pick Doug McDermott scoring 12 in his NBA debut ... The game marked the fourth time the teams squared off in a season opener, with the Bulls winning three of those contests.