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Bulls fall to Knicks in OT in Derrick Rose’s return

Bulls star Derrick Rose had ballhandling woes his return Sunday committing eight turnovers. | Mary Altaffer~AP

Bulls star Derrick Rose had ballhandling woes in his return Sunday, committing eight turnovers. | Mary Altaffer~AP

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Updated: May 10, 2012 8:14AM

NEW YORK — Derrick Rose staggered off the floor and toward the locker room at Madison Square Garden. His body was exhausted, his face a mask of disbelief.

It was supposed to get easier for the Bulls when Rose returned to the starting lineup Sunday. This wasn’t easy. This was a game littered with turnovers, missed shots, free throws clanking off the back of the rim with the game there for the taking and more missed opportunities than a statistician could count.

For all those reasons and many more, the Bulls’ 100-99 overtime loss Sunday to the New York Knicks might be remembered as the most painful defeat of the season.

‘‘We had to make a lot of mistakes to lose that game, and we did,’’ guard Kyle Korver said. ‘‘We had a lot of opportunities to put the game away, and they all went their way.’’

The Bulls turned a 21-point deficit in the first quarter into a 10-point lead with 3:45 left but failed to score from that point until the end of regulation. Luol Deng missed two free throws. Then Rose missed two more before Carmelo Anthony made a three-pointer with 11.2 seconds left to tie the score at 91.

After Rose shot an air ball at the buzzer, the game went to overtime. The Bulls led by four after Rose made a layup in traffic and a pull-up 10-footer. But the Knicks fought back and took the lead on another three-pointer by Anthony, this one with 8.2 seconds left in the extra period.

Rose again had the ball in his hands with a chance to win the game. This time, he was tripped up as the ball was being inbounded. When he finally did get the ball, his runner was short.

‘‘My teammates gave me the ball,’’ Rose said. ‘‘They have confidence in me to take those kinds of shots. This time, I just missed it.’’

If the playoffs began today, the Knicks and Bulls would meet in the first round. In the first half, however, it was the Knicks that looked like the top seed and the Bulls like the bubble team.

Rose was as much the problem as he was the solution. He was stripped the first two times he drove the lane and had three turnovers in the first quarter and five in the first half. He didn’t make a field goal until he drove the lane with 8.7 seconds left in the second quarter, momentarily losing the handle on the ball before scoring on a reverse layup and drawing the foul.

He even got smacked in the mouth for his trouble and had to staunch a bloody lip during a timeout.

‘‘I wasn’t trying to do too much,’’ Rose said. ‘‘I was trying to let the game come to me. My teammates did a great job getting us back into the game. The second half, I tried to play a little more aggressive.’’

Rose finished with 29 points but shot 8-for-26 from the field and committed eight turnovers. Carlos Boozer had 13 points and 16
rebounds and Deng 13 points and nine boards. Anthony scored 43 points for the Knicks, who visit the United Center on Tuesday.

‘‘There’s a good chance we’re going to play this team in the first round,’’ Korver said. ‘‘I don’t want to give them confidence or anything. I wish we could’ve played better.’’

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