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Knicks 107, Bulls 103: Scenes from a game that will only strengthen Thibs’ love of Elfrid Payton

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NBA: New York Knicks at Chicago Bulls Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

It was a weird game Wednesday night in the Windy City, and the Knicks damn near blew a 19-point lead, but eventually they did pull out a 107-103 win.

The Knicks got off to a blazing start, leading by 17-point lead thanks to three consecutive triples from Julius Randle and 10 points from the much-maligned Elfrid Payton. Elf was crashing the boards (7 rebounds in the quarter) and Chicago’s Coby White was basically laying out a red carpet for him to get to the rim.

The quarter was a mixed blessing for Knicks fans, as Elf’s resurgence meant fewer minutes for Immanuel Quickley, who only played 13 minutes total. He did help stem a Chicago charge in the third quarter.

But Thibs went back to Elf early in the fourth, and Chicago continued to chip into the lead until it was down to just 3 points. Fortunately, Julius Randle was still around to right the ship. Randle had 27 points, including a career-high 5 three-pointers, but his biggest moment of the night was a pass to Reggie Bullock.

Julius also scored a late bucket to keep the Bulls at bay.

But in the end, the story of the game will probably be Elf. He scored 20 points on 19 shots. Good? Not really.

But it’ll probably be good enough to keep him in the starting lineup for another month, at least. MSG is already laying laurels at Elf’s feet.

Still, a win is a win. Let’s get some more of them. And more minutes for IQ, please.

Recap to come.