The Milwaukee Bucks had lost 9 in a row to the Chicago Bulls coming into Monday night. They were also on a three game losing streak for the season. Coming into the game, the Bucks had shot 10-62 from the three point line over the last three games. Ouch. For the first three quarters, it didn’t get any better for the Bucks. The Bulls play like grown men at the HighSchool open gym. Too strong, and not gonna let the punk kids beat em – no way – they’ll just push you out of the way. That worked for the first three quarters. But in the 4th, the the Bucks bench went on a huge run and stole a 93-92 victory from the Bulls.
John Henson was in the starting lineup for the Bucks, in place of Illyasova. Probably a good idea since Illyasova hasn’t been shooting for ****. The idea was to have Henson help with rebounding. He played well in the first half, creating second chance opportunities, and leading the Bucks in scoring with 11. Unfortunately, the Bucks as a whole shot 39% from the field in the first half (0-4 on 3′s), and were 6-11 from the line. Gotta make your freethrows Bucks. You’re professionals, and it is an uncontested shot from 15 feet away. Seems pretty easy. Bulls lead 50-40 at the half.
In the 3rd, it got kinda ugly. The Bucks had no answer for Hamilton and Boozer, they had no ball movement on offense, and no one could shoot. With two minutes left in the 3rd, the Bucks were down by 27. It looked like it was over. However, the Bucks were able to cut it to 17 by the end of the 3rd. Then things got interesting in the 4th…
Doran Lamb scored some hoops (8 pts), and Illyasova showed signs of life on both ends. Udrih, Ersan, and Dunleavy hit actual three point baskets. Udoh played some defense, and bam, the Bucks tied the game at 82 with 6:30 remaining. It was a 31-4 run spanning the 3rd and 4th quarter. The teams then traded baskets for the next 6 minutes. Lamb found Udoh on a nice pick and roll which allowed the Bucks to take the lead for good. Udrih had a chance to give the Bucks a 3 point lead from the line with 9 seconds left, but missed em both (again, really, freethrows Bucks, not that hard). Illyasova somehow got the offensive board, and was clearly fouled as the ball was knocked loose (he had massive red gashes down his arm), but instead they called it out of bounds on the Bulls. Heinrich stole the inbound, and after a time out, Hamilton had a contested shot in the lane for the win, but missed.
The Bucks closed the game with a 42-14 run. The Bucks didn’t have a starter on the floor for the last 16 or so minutes of the game. Crazy. Illyasova scored 18 total, 12 in the Fourth. I’m guessing he’ll come off the bench for awhile.
With the win, the Bucks moved to 7-5 and maintained their Central Division lead over the Bulls. About a week ago I said we would learn alot about the Bucks over the last three games. What did we learn? We learned they can compete – a tough OT loss to the Heat, a competitive loss Saturday, and a gutty comeback win tonight. Hopefully, they can keeep it going Wednesday when they face the Knicks – not gonna be easy. The Knicks are playing like a contender.
In other news:
1) I kinda like the new “respect for the game” technical foul that I’m seeing. Overreact to the refs call, even if you’re going the other way, and get your ass T’d up. Good stuff.
2) Drew Gooden gave his game tickets to a fan who sent him a picture of a Bulls jersey in a toilet. The winner sent a pic of a Heinrich jersey in the *******. Gooden and Heinrich played together at Kansas and in Chicago. All in good fun.
3) Michael Finley is trying to make a come back. He is 39 years old. His draft class (1995) included Joe Smith, McDyess, Stackhouse, Rasheed, Garnett, Damon Stoudamire, Corliss Williamson, Kurt Thomas, Brent Barry, and Eric Snow.
Here’s the LuvaBulls