Bulls outlast Tom Thibodeau’s Knicks in a contrast of styles at the United Center

Bulls veteran Thad Young just missed out on his first career triple-double again, but Zach LaVine led the late-game heroics, icing the victory with a three-pointer.

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The Knicks’ Julius Randle moves against Thaddeus Young on Monday at the United Center.

The Knicks’ Julius Randle moves against Thaddeus Young on Monday at the United Center.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Bulls coach Billy Donovan never has been fired. Not even when he tried his hand as a stockbroker on Wall Street.

He said he might have been let go from a job busing tables back in college — likely before he shot his way into becoming a starter at Providence — but even the details of that were sketchy.

He simply sounded more like a guy who didn’t want to brag about never being shown the door.

‘‘Um, I don’t think I have,’’ Donovan said. ‘‘Maybe back in college or something if I wasn’t doing a good job busing tables, I guess.’’

That’s kind of amazing, considering the profession he has chosen. Coaches are hired to be fired. Whether it’s high school, college or the pros, that goes with the gig. Heck, the Bulls have had four coaches since 2015, and the last three were fired.

One of those coaches just happened to be opposite Donovan on the sidelines Monday, when the Bulls beat Tom Thibodeau and the Knicks 110-102 at the United Center.

They are two old friends from the New England area and two coaches with very different styles — styles that definitely made the fight in the first of two games between the teams this week. They also play Wednesday.

While the Bulls (8-11) thrived on ball movement and spacing the floor — 30 assists on the night don’t lie — the Knicks were focused on physicality and defense.

One team had to blink, and it seemed the Knicks did when Zach LaVine made an 18-foot jumper to boost the Bulls’ lead to three with 1:26 left.

But the Knicks tied the score on a three-pointer by Alec Burks before the Bulls’ Coby White made a clutch three-pointer from the corner with 42.4 seconds left.

LaVine then provided the dagger, making an open three-pointer off a turnover to put the Bulls up six with 22.8 seconds left.

Lauri Markkanen scored 30 points to lead the Bulls, and LaVine finished with 21. But the unsung hero of the game was veteran Thad Young, who narrowly missed his first career triple-double again with 13 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

‘‘First of all, damn, I can’t get the triple-double,’’ Young joked afterward.

What’s not a joking matter, however, is how good Young has been in facilitating the Bulls’ offense. In their loss Saturday to the Trail Blazers, Young finished with 11 assists, 11 rebounds and eight points.

‘‘I mean, he’s been amazing,’’ Donovan said. ‘‘If you look at the number of assists we’ve been able to generate — and I thought we could have had a lot more [Monday] because we missed a lot of open shots through extra passing — but he’s kind of an unbelievable facilitator. He’s got great vision; he’s a great passer. He thinks pass before shot. Our guys really trust him.’’

As for the Donovan-Thibodeau matchup, Donovan knows the former Bulls coach well enough to know he doesn’t want to beat his former team any more because of his dismissal more than five years ago. Thibodeau is wired to want to beat every team he coaches against with the same fervor.

‘‘[Coaches aren’t] scoring any baskets or taking any shots or rebounding any basketballs,’’ Donovan said. ‘‘You’ve gotta do the best job you can getting your team prepared to play and to perform against who you’re playing against. If the question is directed toward Thibs, I know him pretty well. As competitive a guy as he is. I think he wants to win every single time he plays.’’

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