Kurt Helin

Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler (21) drives the lane past New York Knicks forward Kyle O'Quinn (9) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Chicago, on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. The Bulls won the 108-81. (AP Photo/Jeff Haynes)
Associated Press

Jimmy Butler helps Bulls pull away from Knicks for 108-81 victory

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CHICAGO (AP)  — Jimmy Butler scored 23 points, Nikola Mirotic had 17 points and seven assists in one of his best games of the season, and the Chicago Bulls beat the New York Knicks 108-81 on Friday night.

Pau Gasol added 17 points and eight rebounds as Chicago won for the fourth time in five games while avenging a blowout loss at New York on Dec. 19. Rookie reserve Bobby Portis had 16 points and 10 rebounds in his third consecutive game scoring in double figures.

The Bulls blew a 17-point lead before pulling away from the Knicks in the fourth quarter. Portis made two free throws, Mirotic connected from deep and Butler had a driving layup to close out a 20-6 run that made it 97-79 with 4:48 left.

Carmelo Anthony scored 20 points for New York, which has dropped five of six. Jose Calderon went 3 for 3 from 3-point range and finished with 18 points.

Chicago played without Derrick Rose, who missed his second straight game due to right hamstring tendinitis. The 2011 NBA MVP got treatment before the matchup, but was unable to go.

It looked as if New York was going to get run out of the building early on. The Knicks missed their first 10 shots and needed almost 4 minutes to score their first points of 2016, a layup for rookie Kristaps Porzingis with 8:05 left in the opening quarter.

When Mirotic blocked Lance Thomas‘ shot and hit a 3-pointer at the other end, Chicago had a 23-6 lead.

But the Knicks slowly chipped away at the deficit. They got it down to 56-50 at halftime, and Porzingis’ hook shot put New York in front for the first time at 67-65 with 5:20 left in the third.

WAITING FOR NOAH

Bulls center Joakim Noah missed his fifth straight game with a left shoulder sprain, but coach Fred Hoiberg said Noah is doing very well.

“He’ll get retested, re-evaluated on Monday and then we’ll have a better idea with how long he’ll be out,” Hoiberg said. “Hopefully, at least in our room and in our circle, we’re hoping that he gets cleared right away.”

When asked about a timetable for Noah’s return if he gets cleared on Monday, Hoiberg said it will depend on what the doctors say.

TIP-INS

Knicks: New York has dropped its last nine games at the United Center. … Thomas finished with 11 points.

Bulls: Butler has at least one steal in his last 39 games for the longest active streak in the league. … It was the franchise’s 4,000th regular-season game.

 

Raptors’ Cory Joseph breaks Brian Robert’s ankles

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 07:  Cory Joseph #6 of the Toronto Raptors shoots a 3-pointer during an NBA game against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Air Canada Centre on December 07, 2015 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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Cory Joseph was setting guys up to start off 2016 — six assists in just 18 minutes of play as the Raptors came from behind with a dominant fourth quarter beat the Hornets 104-94.

This was the assist of the night.

Joseph broke the ankles of Charlotte’s Brian Roberts, who could not recover to stop the three.

Kobe Bryant out vs. Sixers Friday due to sore shoulder

Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant acknowledges the fans  as he walks of the court in Boston after the Lakers' 112-104 win over the Boston Celtics in an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Associated Press
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The last time Kobe Bryant missed a game this season, it was due to a sore right shoulder, and it hasn’t gotten completely healed.

Bryant is out again Friday night when the Lakers host the Sixers, reports Lakers’ sideline reporter Mike Trudell.

Anthony Brown will get the start in his place.

The Lakers are actually 4.5 points per 100 possessions worse when Kobe is on the court this season rather than sitting, almost completely because the defense gets better. If no Kobe means Byron Scott actually lets D'Angelo Russell (and Julius Randle, and Jordan Clarkson) play together in the fourth quarter and finish a game together, then it can be a good thing for the Lakers.

Matt Barnes posts Instagram rant about estranged wife, Fisher, Clippers, “worst year”

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Matt Barnes isn’t going to miss 2015.

Fresh of serving a couple of game suspension for it, Barnes posted a rant on Instagram that makes it clear he has no regrets about his run in with Knicks coach Derek Fisher over him being at the home of Barnes’ estranged wife. Barnes also rants about the Clippers, Rihanna, pretty much everything but Donald Trump.

Check it out for yourself.

Thank God For 2016! 2015 hands down was the worst year of my life! * *Lost the women I loved,the mother of my kids, my Dogg.. I had to walk away from the only thing I've wanted, MY OWN FAMILY! "They call that karma" *To being traded away from a team & city I love! "They call that the business" *Lied on by a pop star Who's lucky I stuck to the script & didn't expose her lien ass Funny thing about texts & pics is they DONT LIE! "I Guess" "They call that getting played" *Last BUT NOT LEAST… Being stuck in the "triangle offense" w my ex & snitch, I mean former teammate & friend.. Who went behind my back, messed w my ex, got caught, got dealt w for being a snake, then ran & told the Police & NBA.. Instead of taken that ass whoopin like a man & kept it moving….! WHERE THEY DO THAT AT? Guess cause I didn't SNITCH, I get a 2 game suspension by the league "They call that LIFE" WHEN IT RAINED, IT POURED in 15 All this played out like a bad reality show, a nightmare, for your amusement & entertainment! For you to critique, make fun of, crack jokes & laugh about.. "What I shoulda did" or what "y'all would have done" Hmmmm… I say all this not for sympathy, because I had a hand in all the bad $h!t that happened.. I was never perfect in my relationship, I didn't see eye to eye w my head coach.. I was warned SEVERAL times about ole girl & I introduced love ones to people who I "thought were FRIENDS"… Lesson Learned!! This is for all of you who had a F@#%ed up year… To let you know I'm right there w you, We In this together! Everyone has ups & downs in this game called LIFE… It gets better…. "I think" Hahaa nah it does, trust me! — -Remember God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers!!! -Stay positive, hold ya head, tighten your circle & stick to your instincts.. -It's not about how many times you fall down, it's about how many times you get up! Heres to freeing your hands of all the bullshit of 2015 & preparing for the blessing God has in store for us all in 2016!  HAPPY NEW YEAR, LOVE #THEBADGUY

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Marcus Morris: brother Markieff “still looking to get out of” Phoenix

Markieff Morris, Marcus Morris
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Markieff Morris already got hit with a $10,000 fine for saying he wanted to be traded and get out of Phoenix. So he’s not talking about it anymore.

But his brother Marcus — who was traded from Phoenix to Detroit this summer, one of the things that made Markeiff unhappy — is still talking.

Marcus is enjoying some schadenfreude at the Suns’ recent troubles and told Vince Ellis at the Detroit Free Press that Markieff is still trying to get out of Arizona.

“You see what’s going on. Sorry to say it, but it’s self-explanatory. I don’t know what’s going on over there. It’s like a (clown) show right now…..

“One thing about Keef is he’s always positive,” Marcus said. “Some stuff might happen a little, but he’s always positive. He’s still looking to get out of there, still looking to go somewhere else. Right now he has to be a pro and continue to take care of his business on and off the court.”

The problem is Markieff is not taking of business on the court. He is averaging 10.5 points a game on 38.1 percent shooting, with a PER of 8.9 — some of the worst numbers of his career. Combine that with him being seen as having an attitude problem — he was suspended two games by the team for throwing a towel at coach Jeff Hornacek — and Markieff’s trade value is so low the Suns would have to throw in a sweetener to move Morris. It’s no secret around the league he wants to be moved, but right now nobody wants to bring him in.

Marcus, on the other hand, is starting for the Pistons and averaging 14.4 points a game.