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Mike Dunleavy’s 3-pointer helps Bulls snap 3-game losing streak

Joakim Noah John Henson

Joakim Noah, John Henson

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The facts: 7 p.m., CSN, 1000-AM.

Updated: January 15, 2014 6:21AM

MILWAUKEE — It had all the makings of another long night for Bulls swingman Mike Dunleavy and his teammates. With 30 seconds left and the game tied, Bucks forward Khris Middleton made what appeared to be the shot of the night.

All he did on the drive was go up in the air as the shot clock was almost at zero, switch the ball to his left hand and throw in a crazy floater that gave Milwaukee the lead.

But Dunleavy answered with a three-point bank shot with 5.8 seconds left that gave the Bulls a 91-90 victory Friday.

Sure, it was against Milwaukee (5-18), but as bad as things have been going for the Bulls the last three weeks, they’ll take anything and everything.

“Yeah, I was thinking about switching hands and shooting it with my left like the previous shot that went in for them. But honestly, with [Bucks big man John] Henson switching over, I knew I had to get it over him, so I got a lot of arc on it,’’ Dunleavy said.

“It was straight as an arrow, just banked in. The second it left my hand, I thought it was going in. I thought it was going to be banked in, so I wasn’t surprised when it happened at all. Other people were, but I just tried to get it over Henson, and I did.

‘‘He’s so long. If I would have shot my normal shot, he might have gotten a piece of it. So I guess what I’m telling you is, I took a bad shot, and it went in.

“We were able to hang in there, and, sure enough, the basketball gods gave us one back.’’

And while Dunleavy played hero, center Joakim Noah played workhorse with 21 points, 18 rebounds, five assists and three blocks. He also tied up Gary Neal for a jump ball with 16 seconds left that led to Dunleavy’s shot.

“Joakim was a monster throughout the game,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “You could see where his timing is back, his play-making, and he’s really getting comfortable out there. I thought he showed a lot of toughness.’’

Lost in the victory was Jimmy Butler’s return to the starting lineup after missing 11 games with turf toe. He scored 16 points.

D.J. Augustin made his Bulls debut and went scoreless in 12 minutes.

But what really mattered was the Bulls (9-12) avoiding a fourth consecutive loss.

“Huge,’’ Dunleavy said of the victory. “Afterward, it just felt like that was one of those that you deserve.’’


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