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Bulls rout Knicks

Chicago – Bobby Portis talks to himself in the third person when he gets on the court, saying stuff like “Come on, B.P.” to get fired up. The rookie forward can shoot it from deep or score inside. And he is making quite an impression on the rest of the Chicago Bulls.

Portis had 16 points and 10 rebounds in his third consecutive game scoring in double figures, and the Bulls shut down the New York Knicks in the fourth quarter for a 108-81 victory Friday night.

“Not trying to go out there and score or rebound,” Portis said. “Just trying to go out there and just play my role and bring positive energy.”

The 6-foot-11 Portis was a first-round pick in last year’s draft, but he barely played early this season. Then center Joakim Noah got hurt, and Portis made the most of his chance for regular minutes.

He is averaging 11.3 points and 6.9 rebounds in his last seven games, and coach Fred Hoiberg said Portis will remain in the rotation even when Noah returns.

“We’re going to continue to find minutes for Bobby,” Hoiberg said. “There is no doubt about it. He’s playing too well.”

Jimmy Butler scored 23 points as Chicago won for the fourth time in five games while avenging a blowout loss at New York on Dec. 19. Nikola Mirotic had 17 points and a career-high seven assists in one of his best games this season, and Pau Gasol added 17 points and eight rebounds.

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

“We had some shots that didn’t go in to start the fourth quarter and I thought we got discouraged and we let our energy get turned around the other way and it just kind of snowballed from there,” Knicks coach Derek Fisher said.

The Bulls blew a 17-point lead before pulling away from the Knicks in the final period. 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.

New York managed just eight points over the last 12 minutes for the lowest total in franchise history in the fourth. The team missed 17 of its 19 shots in the final period.

“It was just extremely frustrating to miss all those shots,” rookie Kristaps Porzingis said. “And that just, missing those shots, I think our energy got a little low, and we just couldn’t get good defensive stops.”