Friday, April 4, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Bulls 102, Bucks 90
By Doug Padilla
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bulls continued their march toward the playoffs Friday with a 102-90 victory over the lowly Milwaukee Bucks.
How it happened: The Bulls led it handily throughout, slightly losing focus in the fourth quarter when the Bucks cut a once-22-point lead down to eight. The Bulls were about as balanced as can be as seven players scored in double figures. Joakim Noah didn't reach double figures until 21.9 seconds remained in the game. Noah and Carlos Boozer had double digit-rebound totals by the end of the third quarter.
What it means: The Bulls certainly aren't overlooking anybody as they close in on the first round of the playoffs. The Bucks entered with an NBA-worst .187 winning percentage, and they now have a league-worst 34 road defeats. A major reason the Bulls aren't taking anybody for granted now is the intensity of head coach Tom Thibodeau. "You get ready for everyone," Thibodeau said before the game. "That's why you build those habits right from the start of the season. Nothing changes."
Hits: The Bucks actually had a better field goal percentage (45.6 to 36.9), but the Bulls took 16 more shots (84 to 68) thanks to winning the battle on the boards (44 to 38), as well as forcing more turnovers (20 to 11).
Misses: Starters Noah and Kirk Hinrich were a combined 4-of-14 shooting in the first half, and the Bulls still had a comfortable 51-35 lead.
Stat of the night: Mike Dunleavy was steady yet again, going 5-of-8 from the field, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range.
What's next: The Bulls will now turn around and head to Washington for the tail end of a back-to-back against the Wizards on Saturday night.