Bucks takes advantage of Rose-less Bulls for 93-92 win
By JOE COWLEY email@example.com November 26, 2012 9:58PM
Chicago Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich (12) is fouled by Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Jennings, left, as forward John Henson (31) watches during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Nov. 26, 2012, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Updated: November 26, 2012 10:03PM
It’s no secret what the rest of the Eastern Conference is thinking: Humble the Bulls now, with Derrick Rose nothing more than an afterthought.
Not every opposing player is willing to admit the obvious. Milwaukee Bucks forward Drew Gooden was.
“I think definitely,’’ Gooden said, when asked if the plan was jumping on the Bulls early in the season, rather than later when Rose comes back from his injured left ACL. “More than just Derrick Rose, the team they had last year, losing Omer [Asik], losing [Kyle] Korver, [Ronnie] Brewer, those guys, I think the make-up of the team as a whole is a little different.
“And then not having Derrick Rose is a real different make-up of the team, so to get a game against the Bulls right now, and vice-versa for them, to get games without Derrick Rose, is something you look forward to.’’
Milwaukee missed out on that opportunity on Saturday, but not twice in three days, breaking the hearts of the Bulls along the way in the rematch.
Thanks to a 25-2 run, Milwaukee came back from being down 27 points with just 2:50 left in the third to beat the Bulls 93-92 at the United Center.
It also kept the Bulls behind the first-place Bucks in the Central Division, with the Bulls (6-7) now losers of four of their last five.
And again, fourth-quarter problems cost them.
“We couldn’t get stops, we couldn’t get to the free throw line,’’ Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said afterward. “They had 12 blocked shots, poor defense … it can happen fast. You can lose 10 points in an NBA game in a minute. Everyone says, ‘Ah that doesn’t happen.’ I see it all the time.
“You got to play 48 minutes in this league and we still have a long way to go in that area. They were down big so changed their lineup. Usually in our games when we play them this is how it is. It’s hard-fought, and if you let your guard down this is what happens.’’
Even after weathering the comeback by the Bucks earlier in the fourth, the Bulls still had control of the game at the 7:52 mark when Hamilton hit a jumper to keep the lead at six. It didn’t last, as the game was tied up less than a minute later.
Hamilton, who scored a game-high 30 points, gave his team the lead with 1:15 left, but Milwaukee wasn’t going away, as Ekpe Udoh answered. Then it really got ugly for the Bulls, as Beno Udrih missed a three-pointer, but chased down his own rebound and was fouled.
The Bucks guard did everything he could to give the game away, missing both free throws with the one-point lead, and the Bulls eventually got the ball back with 7.5 second left and a chance to win it. Hamilton’s attempt clanked left, however, and just like that Milwaukee twisted the dagger.
As for Thibodeau, he’s been reiterating since the preseason that his current team had to respect all 48 minutes of a game, and that once again slapped them in the face on Monday.
“You never have a game won until the final horn goes off,’’ Thibodeau added. “As soon as you start feeling good about yourself you get knocked on your ass, and that’s what happened.’’