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Bulls Cut Knicks Lead Over Bucks in Playoff Race to One Game

Richard Hamilton
Richard Hamilton #32 of the Chicago Bulls shoots under pressure from Baron Davis #85 of the New York Knicks at the United Center. Photographer: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Chicago Bulls avenged an overtime loss to the Knicks three nights ago to leave New York one game ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks in the race for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Richard Hamilton scored 20 points to pace the National Basketball Association-leading Bulls to a 98-86 victory over the Knicks at United Center in Chicago last night.

The Knicks (29-28) are eighth in the Eastern Conference, one game behind the Philadelphia 76ers (30-27). The Bucks (28-29), who are in ninth place, host the Knicks tonight.

The Bulls (44-14) are 1 1/2 games ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the league standings and are 14 1/2 games ahead of the Knicks in the Eastern Conference.

Luol Deng had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls, who had a 47-35 halftime advantage.

Carmelo Anthony had 29 points and J.R. Smith came off the bench to contribute 14 for the Knicks. New York is playing without Amar’e Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin.

The Knicks won 100-99 in New York against the Bulls April 8, spoiling NBA Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose’s return from a 12-game injury absence. Rose sat out last night’s game after injuring himself again in the loss to the Knicks.

The NBA season ends April 26.

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