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Hot Bulls Entertain Struggling Bucks
Posted Dec 15 2006 4:32PM
After a rough start, Ben Wallace finally looks comfortable with the Chicago Bulls.
Coming off his best game with his new team, Wallace and the Bulls look to win for the 10th time in 11 games when they host the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday.
With a headband controversy and some inconsistent play apparently behind him, Wallace tallied season highs with 15 points and 20 rebounds in a 99-84 win over the Seattle SuperSonics on Wednesday.
It was the 52nd time Wallace has grabbed 20 or more rebounds and the first time with Chicago (12-10), the team with which he signed during the offseason after a successful run with the Detroit Pistons.
``Anytime you leave a situation like I was in, coming to something new, I was in Detroit for six years and to take on a new challenge at this point in my career there is always going to be a little bit of an adjustment,'' Wallace said. ``For the most part I think the transition has gone pretty smooth.''
Wallace, who was benched during a game last month for breaking a team rule by wearing a headband, recorded his third double-double of the season Wednesday and second in as many games. He's reached double figures in rebounds in four straight games, averaging 13.7 in that span, to see his season average climb to 9.6.
He's even scored in double figures in four of the past seven games after doing so only once in his first 15 games in a Bulls uniform. Wallace set season highs with seven baskets on 12 attempts from the field Wednesday.
``We throw Ben the ball quite a bit in the course of games,'' Chicago coach Scott Skiles said. ``Tonight, he saw some openings and took them and scored. It is silly to say he had a big game, he had 20 rebounds, but that was a big time performance.''
With help from Wallace, who matched a season high with five blocks, the Bulls continue to improve defensively. The Bulls have not allowed an opponent to score more than 94 points in seven straight games. They gave up more than 100 in eight of their previous 14 contests.
Ben Gordon came off the bench Wednesday to score 27 points, the third straight game he's had more than 20.
Gordon scored a season-high 37 points in a 110-85 home win over Milwaukee on Nov. 6 in the only meeting between the teams this season.
The Bucks (9-13) got a rare off-night from star Michael Redd in a 108-95 loss at New Jersey on Wednesday. Redd had a season-low nine points, snapping a streak of 101 straight games scoring in double figures.
Among the NBA leaders with 28.0 points per game, Redd shot a season-worst 3-for-13 (23.1 percent) from the field and missed all four of his 3-point attempts.
``You just have to realize that you are going to have a lot more great games than you have bad games,'' said Redd, whose previous season low was 15 in a loss to Toronto on Nov. 3. ``New Jersey was determined to shut me down. They did a good job. They had an extra body in front of me all night.''
Chicago might do the same after Redd scored 30 points in each of his last two meetings against the Bulls. Redd, though, has averaged only 17.7 points on 33 percent (17-of-51) shooting over his last three games.
Charlie Villanueva has tried to pick up the slack, averaging 17.5 points in four games since returning from a torn elbow ligament that caused him to miss 10 games.
Second-year center Andrew Bogut recorded his second double-double of the season with 15 points and 12 rebounds on Wednesday. Wallace helped limit Bogut to six points and three boards in last month's meeting.
The Bucks will try to avoid losing a third straight game at the United Center. They've won just twice in their last 11 trips to Chicago.
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