On Friday night, the Chicago Bulls found themselves in Wisconsin to take on the Milwaukee Bucks for the second time this week. It was a close competition between the two Central Division teams, but Mike Dunleavy’s game-winning three gave the Bulls the 91-90 victory.
Jimmy Butler returned to the starting lineup tonight after missing 11 games due to a turf toe injury. Luol Deng remained sidelined with a sore Achilles.
The game was evenly matched to begin with. Both teams were exchanging baskets leaving the score tied throughout the majority of the first quarter. However, Chicago went on a run within the last few minutes of the quarter. A pair of free throws from Butler brought his squad away from a 16-16 tie. That was followed by a three from Kirk Hinrich, a dunk by Taj Gibson and a three from Butler giving the Bulls a 26-16 lead.
Newly acquired point guard D.J. Augustin saw his first minutes as a Bull with 14 seconds left in the first period, and he would go on to play in the second quarter as Hinrich’s backup.
Once the bench came in for the second quarter, Chicago struggled to score. The starters were able to achieve a good rhythm on the offensive end, but the bench could barely get anything. Nazr Mohammed was the lone bench player to score in the period off of a dunk and a free throw.
With the lack of bench production, Tom Thibodeau resorted to his starters to get the game going again. But at the point, Milwaukee had already been able to catch up from the 10-point deficit. The starters were able to at least keep up with the Bucks though.
Hinrich hit a three with 1:35 left in the first half to give Chicago the 43-40 lead. He would go on to shoot a three right before the half’c conclusion as well, only to have it followed by fouling Brandon Knight on a left-wing three-point attempt. This gave the Bucks the 51-47 advantage going into halftime.
A left baseline jumper from Carlos Boozer tied the game at 88 with less than a minute left in the fourth quarter. Khris Middleton made a difficult shot to give the Bucks the lead, but two possessions later, Hinrich fed Dunleavy for the banked-in three to seal the win.
Joakim Noah led all scorers in the game with 21 points and added 18 rebounds for a double-double. Butler followed up with 16 points of his own in his return.
Chicago is now 9-12 They will complete their fourth game in five nights on Saturday, December 14 back at home for a 7 p.m. central match-up versus the Toronto Raptors.