Wednesday , Apr , 20 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Gordon, Hinrich sink Knicks, Bulls secure four seed

Chicago, IL (Sports Network) – Ben Gordon’s jumper with 5.8 seconds left
helped the Chicago Bulls defeat the New York Knicks, 92-91, at the United
Center and in the process clinch home-court advantage for the first round of
the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Kirk Hinrich had a career-high tying 34 points and Gordon ended with 16 for
the Bulls, who secured the fourth seed and will host the fifth-seeded
Washington Wizards in the first round. Washington lost to the New Jersey Nets
on Tuesday, allowing the Bulls to move two games ahead with one game
remaining.

“It’s terrific to have the third best record in the East, only behind the
world champs and a team with Shaq,” said Gordon. “That’s terrific after a 0-9
start.”

“Yeah, (we’re proud),” added Hinrich. “But we have to stay hungry. We can’t be
satisfied just making the playoffs.”

Chris Duhon had 11 points and 10 assists for Chicago, which has won three
straight and will end the regular season on Wednesday in Indiana.

“These times of the year, you have to find ways to win,” said Duhon. “We
stayed in the game. Kirk did a great job of carrying us and we were able to
make some big plays down the stretch.”

Jamal Crawford played his first game in Chicago since his offseason trade to
New York and finished with 24 points, six assists and six rebounds. However,
he missed two free throws with 11 seconds left that would have given his club
a three-point lead. Then missed the potential game-winning jumper as time
expired.

“I wasn’t surprised,” said Crawford on the boos he received. “When I was here,
and I know there is no ‘I’ in team, we didn’t go to the playoffs. This team
has
gotten it together and the fans were supporting them.”

New York led 91-90 when Chicago inbounded the ball with 15 seconds on the
clock. However, Tyson Chandler, who received the ball from the inbounder
Hinrich, was called for an illegal pick when he handed the ball back to
Hinrich to give the ball back to New York.

After the ensuing inbounds, Crawford was fouled with 11 seconds remaining, but
the 85-percent shooter missed both from the stripe to keep the game at 91-90.

“It was unbelievable to me,” said Crawford about missing the free throws. “I’m
not sure what happened. I’ve been in that position before and made them. I
like to come though for my team.”

Chicago then called a timeout and on the inbounds Hinrich found Gordon, who
took his defender off the dribble and hit the pull-up jumper with five seconds
left.

The Knicks had one last chance, but Crawford’s jumper as time expired bounced
out and the Knicks lost all four games to the Bulls this season.

Stephon Marbury had 15 points, despite not playing most of the fourth quarter,
for the Knicks, who have dropped two in a row. New York will end its
disappointing campaign on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden against the
Wizards.

The Knicks, who led 19-17 after one quarter and 43-36 at halftime, shot 46
percent for the game.

Chicago, which rallied to take a 69-68 lead going into the fourth quarter, hit
40 percent of its shots.

Chicago will appear in the postseason for the first time since Michael Jordan
left the club after the 1998 season…Jannero Pargo had 10 points for
Chicago…Kurt Thomas, Trevor Ariza and Maurice Taylor had 10 points apiece
for the Knicks…The Bulls end the regular season 27-14 at home, winning six
of eight…New York ended the campaign 11-30 on the road, losing eight of
11…The Knicks went 5-13 in Tuesday games this season.

CHI WAS