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Bulls post first winning streak since April

1/1/2002

CHICAGO (AP) -- The Chicago Bulls are winning under new coach
Bill Cartwright. The Milwaukee Bucks are struggling without their
two top players.

Ron Mercer scored 20 points, and Marcus Fizer added 17 points
and a career-high 14 rebounds, leading the Bulls to a 90-83 victory
over the Bucks on Monday.

Cartwright is 2-0 since replacing Tim Floyd, who resigned last
week.

"I thought we were fortunate with Glenn Robinson and Ray Allen
out for Milwaukee, but we earned the victory," Cartwright said.

The Bulls have their first two-game winning streak since April,
when they beat New Jersey and Philadelphia on the road.

"Not taking anything away from Tim Floyd, but the guys are
playing with more intensity," Fizer said. "We are playing really
hard."

Milwaukee (18-10) was without Allen and Robinson, its leading
scorers, who are sidelined with injuries.

Sam Cassell scored 28 to lead the Bucks, who had their four-game
winning streak snapped.

Milwaukee was assessed four technical fouls in the fourth
quarter and played the final 2:12 without coach George Karl, who
was ejected by referee Marc Davis for arguing calls.

"I'm not criticizing the referees, other than saying it was a
poorly officiated game," Karl said. "They took away three fast
breaks from us in a row. I've never even had that happen to me in
the CBA.

"Still, we've got to learn how to win a poorly officiated
game."

The Bulls (6-23) pulled away late in the fourth as Mercer hit a
jumper and Ron Artest made a steal and layup to put Chicago up
82-76 with 4:22 left.

Anthony Mason was hit with a technical by Davis, and Tim Thomas
flopped to the ground in disbelief after getting his fifth foul
with 2:52 left.

Karl got tossed, and Cassell received a technical in the final
minute. Thomas, who scored 19 points, then fouled out and drew a
technical foul and an ejection by Davis.

"I don't have anything to say, except those three guys
(referees Davis, Joe Forte and Scott Foster) stink," Thomas said.

Allen missed his sixth straight game because of left knee
tendinitis, and Robinson sat out with a left thigh bruise.

The Bucks struggled without their top scorers, going scoreless
until 5:48 remained in the first quarter.

Cassell rallied Milwaukee with a 3-pointer and a jumper, giving
the Bucks a 14-11 lead. Milwaukee led 19-16 after one quarter.

The Bulls scored eight straight points to open the second.
Rookie Tyson Chandler hit a 10-foot jumper and hustled for a tip.

Fizer came off the bench to score eight points as the Bulls
built a 35-31 lead late in the half. Milwaukee countered with a
10-0 run to take a 43-37 halftime lead.

Cassell scored 14 points, and Thomas added 12 in the first half.

Chicago used an 11-2 run to take a 60-52 lead midway through the
third quarter.

Rafer Alston hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 66, but Mercer
hit a jumper that gave the Bulls a 68-66 lead after three quarters.

Game notes
Allen tested his sore knee in the pregame shootaround.
Robinson did not travel with the club. ... The Bucks are 4-2
without Allen. ... The Bulls outrebounded the Bucks 41-30. ... The
Bucks were 9-6 in December, the Bulls 4-11.