The Bulls Monday bucked their recent trend of defeat without regulars and irregular defense with a 100-90 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Bulls second straight victory moved them to 32-30 as the Bucks fell to 26-38.
Pau Gasol got his second triple double of the season with 12 points, 17 rebounds and 13 assists. Derrick Rose scored 22 points and seven assists and Mike Dunleavy had a season high 18. Taj Gibson was tough late with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Nikola Mirotic had 14 points off the bench. The Bulls had a season high 35 assists on 39 baskets. The Bulls also broke a streak of giving up at least 100 points in 16 straight games.
The Bulls suffered another setback before the start with word that Jimmy Butler’s knee had swelled since his triumphant return Saturday against Houston from missing 11 games with a knee sprain. They also lost Bobby Portis and Aaron Brooks during the game.
So E’waun Moore returned to the starting lineup in the backcourt with Rose. And Moore offered a three to finish the Bulls 7-0 start. The Bucks without the injured Michael Carter-Williams started Giannis Antetokounmpo at point guard, which seemed to confuse the Bucks and enabled the Bulls to lead 25-16 after one quarter with Rose leading with seven points. Gasol had six rebounds and seven assists in the quarter.
The Bulls surged to start the second quarter to a 31-18 lead, but going deep into the bench again with injuries the Bucks scored nine straight. The Bulls rushed their regulars back in and got one of those Rose bursts to the basket for a 37-32 lead and then a three pointer from Mirotic and clever inside pass from Mirotic to a cutting Dunleavy for a 42-36 Bulls lead with about two minutes left in the half. Gasol had a rebounds and assists double/double by halftime as the Bulls led 47-40.
Dunleavy got the Bulls off to a good second half start with a three and 11 points in the first seven minutes of the third quarter as the Bulls led 64-57. The Bulls lost Aaron Brooks for the rest of the game to patellar tendinitis, further reducing the guard corps. The Bulls took a 67-57 lead with about four minutes left in the third on a slick Gasol spin and foul for a three-point play. But the Bulls lost Jerryd Bayless at the three-point line, Portis took an elbow to the face from Jabari Parker and had to leave and also was out for the game. The Bulls held onto a 73-69 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Rose took a shot to the eye early in the fourth as the Bulls had to call timeout. But Rose stayed in and made two straight jumpers for an 80-72 lead. But Bayless continued to have the range from three with two more as the Bulls committed three consecutive turnovers and Milwaukee got within two with about six minutes left. The Bulls continued to scramble on the defensive end with blocks by Gasol and Gibson and Gibson’s rugged rebounding down the stretch trying to hold on after leading for much of the game.