Game Notes: Bucks at Bulls
“A win is a win.”
By Bryan Crawford / @_BryanCrawford
A Milwaukee Bucks team without Brandon Jennings isn’t much fun to watch. Neither is a Bucks team without Earl Boykins who torched the Lakers last week and was then suspended by the NBA for one game after making incidental contact with a referee in their loss at home to the Hawks.
Still, despite missing four of their key players last night (Carlos Delfino was out with a concussion and Drew Gooden with Plantar Fasciitis), the Bucks were somehow in it with the Chicago Bulls up until the very end, but ultimately fell 90-77 in a game that was pretty much a snoozer.
Milwaukee’s gritty play should come as no surprise to anyone as Scott Skiles’s teams always seem to play well despite being shorthanded and they do have some impressive wins on their resume (Lakers, Mavericks) with one of their key players in Jennings out of the rotation.
“Almost miraculously, we were in this game,” said Skiles. “We played well at times but had nothing offensively. We got to the line a lot up until halftime and that, along with our second-chance points kept us in it. We came back and got the lead but just couldn’t keep it.”
Defense was the name of the game for the Bulls as they held the Bucks to 32 percent shooting from the field and last night’s strategy seemed to be to try and neutralize Milwaukee’s best player, Andrew Bogut, which they did quite effectively. Bogut only scored 4 points off of two tip-ins and shot 2-12 from the field.
“I liked our defense on him… Even though he missed some shots that he normally makes, I thought Kurt Thomas did a really good job on him,” said Tom Thibodeau after the game.
But despite shutting Bogut down offensively, he impacted the game in other ways. Bogut grabbed 16 rebounds — contributing greatly to Milwaukee outrebounding Chicago 51-42 in the game and 19-6 on the offensive glass – and blocked 4 shots. After the game, Thibodeau praised him for his effort.
“Bogut did not let his shooting affect the way he played. He had a great impact in the lane and his rebounding was unbelievable. He was going out of his area to get balls.”
For Chicago, it was yet another solid night for Carlos Boozer who scored 24 points and grabbed 9 rebounds. He was guarded by Bogut defensively and pretty much had his way with him. Said Bogut on the matchup with Boozer, “He is a big part of their success. We tried to limit his production and couldn’t do it.
“He’s a tough player because he’s so strong, agile and quick. If you crowd him, he’ll just go by you. He got his jumper going early and got into a rhythm which really hurt us.”
Boozer also had similar praise for Bogut’s squad.
“We did a good job playing D on them but look, one thing about the Bucks, they’re always going to play hard and they played hard tonight. That’s why they were in the game. They’re a scrappy team.”
While Luol Deng finally broke out of his horrific shooting slump (he’d made just 14 of his last 40 shots coming into the game) by contributing 24 points on 9-15 shooting and grabbing 5 rebounds on the night, and Derrick Rose had a typical outing with 18 points, 12 assists and 6 rebounds, Chicago once again got absolutely nothing from Keith Bogans at the SG spot (3 points on 1-4 shooting from the field) and the bench contributed 19 points as a unit on 8-20 shooting from the field. Despite it all, the victory places the Bulls 10 games above .500 for the first time since 2007 and like Derrick Rose said after the game, “We’ll take it. A win is a win.”