Chicago 117, Milwaukee 111

CHICAGO, Dec. 15 (AP)-- Ben Wallace and the Bulls controlled the paint again.

Wallace grabbed a season-high 27 rebounds and added 10 points to lead Chicago to a 117-111 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night.

Kirk Hinrich scored 21 points and Chris Duhon had 19 for Chicago, who has won 10 of its last 11 games.

Wallace backed up a 20-rebound performance against Seattle on Wednesday and was just one short of his career high.

``That's what we have to do. We've got to get back to playing defense,'' Wallace said. ``Especially, we have to take care of our basket. We can't allow guys to walk down the lane and get layups. The starters and everyone who came off the bench did a great of the protecting the basket.''

Ruben Patterson had 21 points and 13 rebounds for the Bucks, finishing three assists shy of his first career triple-double. Michael Redd led the Bucks with 32 points, after he was held to a season-low nine in a loss to New Jersey on Wednesday.

Chicago finished its longest homestand in team history with a 7-1 record and improved to 9-0 against Eastern Conference teams at the United Center.

``Before the season, that's what we wanted to do, be a great home team. It was one of our goals,'' Duhon said. ``The last two years we have not played well at home, this year I think everybody is making a conscious effort to come out and bring the necessary energy for us to win.''

Milwaukee closed within three with a 16-6 run, capped by Patterson's follow with 3:44 left, but Chicago answered with Wallace's dunk and two free throws by Ben Gordon.

Mo Williams hit a jumper to cut the Chicago lead to 110-108, but Wallace came back with a nice assist to Tyrus Thomas for a dunk to put the Bulls up four with 1:06 left.

Thomas then blocked Brian Skinner's shot attempt. Thomas finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Wallace also had six assists for Chicago.

Thomas and Wallace gave the Bulls a 59-43 rebound advantage over the Bucks.

``We had to get every loose ball, every rebound, we just had to get everything,'' Thomas said.

Williams converted a three-point play with 24 seconds left to cut the Chicago lead to 112-111. The Bucks put Gordon on the line, and he made both. Chicago made 35-of-41 free throws, while Milwaukee was just 16-of-34.

``I'm surprised we were in the game. Wow. That's almost 20 (missed) free throws. Wow. I mean, wow, wow. If we make 10 of those we win easy,'' Williams said.

Leading 78-76, Chicago pulled away in the third quarter with an 8-1 run. Wallace kept an offensive possession alive with a rebound and Duhon followed with a jumper. Then after two free throws by Duhon, Wallace found rookie Thomas for an alley-oop dunk on a break to give the Bulls an 86-77 lead late in the third quarter.

Patterson came into the game shooting 66 percent from the line. He missed his first six free throws and finished 3-for-10.

Wallace tied the game at 55 with a putback as time expired in the second quarter. He scored eight points and had 15 rebounds in the first half.

``Tyrus Thomas and Ben Wallace are a factor,'' Bucks coach Terry Stotts said. ``They changed shots, blocked shots. That all said, we missed a lot of easy ones around the basket. Maybe they had something to do with that.''

The Bulls led by as many as 13 in the first quarter, but allowed Milwaukee to come back and take the lead temporarily by committing eight turnovers in the second. Milwaukee shot 63 percent in the period and Steve Blake scored 12 points off the bench in the half, all coming in the second quarter. Redd had 18 points at halftime.

Notes: Wallace had 28 rebounds two times in his career. ... Before the game, the Bulls honored Lamar Hunt with a moment of silence. In 1967, Hunt was one of 10 original founding partners in the Bulls basketball franchise. He was the last remaining original owner. He died on Wednesday. ... Bulls F P.J. Brown missed the game with a strained right foot.


Copyright 2006 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited
^M