Bulls defeat Bucks, 115-106
Chicago improves to 11-22 on the regular season
The Bulls Tuesday continuing hunting season, shooting down the Bucks 115-106.
The Bulls pulled away in the fourth quarter from a tie game after three with big three pointers from Nikola Mirotic and relentless play on the boards and defense from David Nwaba. Nwaba led the Bulls with nine rebounds.
Kris Dunn’s driving layup past Giannis Antetokounmpo with just under a minute left was the crusher with Dunn making another big play down the stretch.
Mirotic led the Bulls with 24 points. Dunn had 20 points, 12 assists and four steals. Justin Holiday had 15 points and Denzel Valentine 13. The Bulls had a bench lead of 54-25.
The Bulls now are 11-22 with wins in eight of their last 10 games. The Bucks are 17-15.
With 16.9 seconds left, Dunn and Khris Middleton fell to the floor together with Middleton boxing out Dunn and falling on Dunn. Both were assessed technical fouls and ejected.
The Bulls on Dec. 15 defeated the Bucks 115-109 with Bobby Portis getting a career high 27 points. The Bucks were without former Bull Tony Snell, who was back starting Tuesday. The Bucks, predictably, started fast behind Antetokounmpo’s driving game, leading 12-6 and then 20-13.. Antetokounmpo drew a second foul with 4:23 left in the first quarter, but a pressuring Bucks second unit kept the Bulls off balance for a 31-22 Bucks first quarter lead despite seven points from Valentine and six assists from Dunn. The Bulls quickly rallied back to open the second quarter behind former combatants Ports and Mirotic. Portis matched the physical play inside while Mirotic was back to impressive offensive ways with his shooting and clever play on the fast break, Mirotic’s ball fake on a fast break leading to a 36-35 Bulls lead. The Bucks regained some balance and a 48-42 lead despite Antetokounmpo drawing a third foul but staying in the game. But then the Bulls closed the half wot an 8-0 run with hustle on the fast break and strong finishing for a 56-53 halftime lead. Mirotic had 11 points and Portis had a team best plus-15 for the first half by a large margin. Antetokounmpo had 18. He had just 10 second half points against tough defense from Nwaba.
The Bulls maintained their lead early in the third quarter with a Holiday three and driving dunk as the Bulls led 68-63 midway through the third. The Bucks went back to the physical game, driving the ball and getting to the free throw line to nudge ahead 77-76 with 2:36 left in the third quarter. Lauri Markkanen’s shooting problems continued with his fourth game in five since his return from back problems shooting 40 percent of lower from the field. The teams went into the fourth quarter tied at 83. The Bulls broke quickly to start the fourth quarter with a long Mirotic three and aggressive driving from Jerian Grant as the Bulls held a 98-92 lead with seven minutes remaining and then 103-94 on a Mirotic three with 4:53 left.
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