Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bulls Down Knicks 93-79, Force Game 7 Decisive Clash Set for Sunday in New York

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bulls Down Knicks 93-79, Force Game 7 Decisive Clash Set for Sunday in New York

Article excerpt

They felt the emotional surge from their home crowd in what might have been their final game at Chicago Stadium. Once energized Friday, the Chicago Bulls didn't falter.

The Bulls beat the New York Knicks 93-79 with rebounding, defense and hustle. Now the three-time defending National Basketball Association champions head to Madison Square Garden on Sunday for the deciding Game 7 in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

"We wanted to attack and be aggressive, especially early in the game. Our energy was great," said Bulls guard B.J. Armstrong, who scored 20 points.

"This series will come down to loose balls, second shots, scrub shots. Tonight it was us who had that," said veteran center Bill Cartwright, who gave the Bulls seven rebounds and nine points while battling Knicks center Patrick Ewing.

It was the Knicks' ninth successive playoff loss at Chicago Stadium, the 65-year-old facility that is closing after an ice skating exhibition next month. New York, however, has won all three games in the series at home.

"It started out bad for us and continued throughout most of the game," Knicks coach Pat Riley said.

Ewing had 26 points and 14 rebounds for the foul-troubled Knicks, who trailed by 16 after three quarters but once again staged a fourth-quarter rally. They cut the lead to 78-69 with just under eight minutes to go when John Starks hit a 3-pointer to cap a 9-2 run.

Cartwright then scored after grabbing a loose ball. Starks was called for his fifth foul seconds later. Chicago's Scottie Pippen, who had 13 points and 11 rebounds, then tipped in a miss by Cartwright just before the shot clock went off. That gave the Bulls a 13-point lead.

Starks, who scored 18, fouled out with 4 minutes 54 seconds left. Then Pippen scored on another follow 41 seconds later for an 86-71 lead.

The Bulls finished with a 52-35 rebounding edge and were 25 for 31 from the free throw line. The Knicks were 17 of 22 from the foul line. New York was hit with 30 fouls, compared with 17 on Chicago.

"That's officiating, part of basketball," Starks said. "You've got to deal with it. You can't (complain) or cry about it. …

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