Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau chose not to rest any of his key players during Tuesday's game at New York.
It bucked a popular trend. San Antonio sat Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker against the Lakers later on Tuesday. Boston basically conceded the No. 2 seed in the East to Miami by resting four starters a night earlier.
The way things worked out, with the Bulls beating New York and San Antonio losing, the Bulls and Spurs are now tied for the best overall record in the NBA at 61-20. San Antonio finishes the season at Phoenix on Wednesday.
If the Bulls can finish the regular season with a win over New Jersey and the Spurs lose to the Suns, the Bulls will have homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs. If the Bulls and San Antonio finish with the same record and meet in the Finals, home court will be decided by random draw, since the two tiebreakers came up even.
There was a downside to playing the regulars at New York. Guard Ronnie Brewer suffered a sprained left thumb while fighting for a loose ball in the second quarter. X-rays were negative, so it's unlikely Brewer will miss any playoff games.
"When I first did it, I thought I broke it," Brewer said. "Because it swelled up instantly and I was like, 'Oh, man. Not with two games left, I broke my thumb.' Even if that was that was the case, I was going to try to get it taped and play through it. But I'm glad it wasn't a break or anything."
Center Joakim Noah has been trying to get healthy and he turned his already injured right ankle in the fourth quarter. He tried to check back into the game, but time expired before there was a stoppage in play.
"I'm OK," Noah said. "I'm good. I just fell on my ankle a little funny, but I'm fine."
The Bulls are 2-1 against New Jersey this season. The Nets have lost 14 of their last 16 games and will play without point guard Deron Williams, who's had season-ending wrist surgery.
BULLS 103, KNICKS 90: After allowing New York to shoot 56 percent from the field in the first half, the Bulls opened the third quarter with a 26-2 run and went on to beat the Knicks 103-90 on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden. Guard Derrick Rose scored 26 points and performed three spectacular dunks for the New York crowd. Forward Luol Deng added 23 points, while forward Carlos Boozer pulled in 22 rebounds. The Knicks were the only NBA team the Bulls had not beaten this season. New York got as close as 6 points early in the fourth quarter before Deng and Rose hit three-pointers to put the Bulls back in control.
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