Dennis Smith Jr. scored 25 points, Mitchell Robinson added eight points and 17 rebounds and the New York Knicks escaped the possibility of finishing with their worst-ever record by beating the Chicago Bulls 96-86 on Tuesday night.

With one game remaining, the Knicks (17-64) can only tie for the worst season in franchise history. A loss to the Detroit Pistons, who are seeking to lock up a playoff spot, would give New York a record matching only its ugly 2014-15 campaign.

New York, which had already secured the NBA’s worst record and a draft position no worse than fifth, won back-to-back games for the first time since late February.

Chicago Bulls coach Jim Boylen motions during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
Chicago Bulls coach Jim Boylen motions during the first half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

The Bulls, meanwhile, lost for the 32nd time at United Center this season, a franchise record. Chicago’s previous worst home season was in 2000-01.

The Knicks, who led by as many as 20 against a depleted Bulls lineup, needed a late 5-0 run to pull away. Smith hit a pair of free throws and Damyean Dotson made a 3 to put the Knicks up 89-79 with 2:42 left.

Kevin Knox added 17 points and 10 rebounds and Dotson finished with 12.

New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) shoots as Chicago Bulls guard Ryan Arcidiacono (51) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, April 9, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) shoots as Chicago Bulls guard Ryan Arcidiacono (51) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, April 9, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

Ryan Arcidiacono led the Bulls (22-59) with 14 points and Shaquille Harrison added 13.

Smith scored 19 points in the first half and Knox added 11 as the Knicks led by as many as 20 in the first quarter. The Bulls cut into the lead late in the second quarter. They trailed 57-50 at halftime.

For the second straight game, Smith played with a sore lower back. He was originally slated to come off the bench, but that changed when guard Mario Hezonja came down with an illness and was a late scratch.

Chicago Bulls guard Shaquille Harrison (3) shoots against New York Knicks forward Luke Kornet (2) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, April 9, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
Chicago Bulls guard Shaquille Harrison (3) shoots against New York Knicks forward Luke Kornet (2) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, April 9, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

“Right now (Smith) is still isn’t at 100%, but he is still giving it to us because he wanted to finish the season on the court,” coach David Fizdale said.

TIP-INS

Knicks: Fizdale wasn’t sure if G Kadeem Allen, who is out with a concussion, will be available for the finale. … G Allonzo Trier missed the game with a strained left calf. … G Emmanuel Mudiay was ruled out for the final two games because of a sore left shoulder.

Chicago Bulls coach Jim Boylen leaves the floor after the team's NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks, Tuesday, April 9, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
Chicago Bulls coach Jim Boylen leaves the floor after the team’s NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks, Tuesday, April 9, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

Bulls: Zach LaVine (bruised right thigh, right knee tendinitis), Kris Dunn (strained back), and Otto Porter Jr. (right rotator cuff), didn’t suit. … Before the game, Dunn admitted he struggled to find his role with the Bulls this season. “I guess you can say that. Earlier in the season I was being aggressive. I kind of defer away from Lauri (Markkanen) a little bit, kind of sacrifice my role to see how it went. … It allowed to figure out who I was as a player. That’s to be aggressive,” Dunn said.

UP NEXT

Knicks: Finish the season Wednesday night by hosting a motivated Pistons team that’s trying to hold off Charlotte for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

New York Knicks guard John Jenkins reacts after scoring against the Chicago Bulls during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, April 9, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
New York Knicks guard John Jenkins reacts after scoring against the Chicago Bulls during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, April 9, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

Bulls: At Philadelphia on Wednesday night to conclude their season. The 76ers are locked into the No. 3 spot in the East playoff bracket.

___

Chicago Bulls guard Walt Lemon Jr. (25) shoots against New York Knicks forward Henry Ellenson (13) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, April 9, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
Chicago Bulls guard Walt Lemon Jr. (25) shoots against New York Knicks forward Henry Ellenson (13) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, April 9, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
New York Knicks coach David Fizdale gestures during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
New York Knicks coach David Fizdale gestures during the first half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

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