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Bulls 114, Bucks 111: Recap

The Bucks found themselves in a fairly familiar situation early in the fourth quarter in Chicago tonight, trailing 98-77 and well on their way to their 30th loss in 36 road games. But the never-before-seen lineup of Ramon Sessions, Michael Redd, Bobby Simmons, Charlie Villanueva and Yi Jianlian then went on a 19-2 run in less than five minutes, cutting the lead to 100-96 with seven minutes left. The Bucks made no more progress from there, however, as Joakim Noah had 18/15 and six other Bulls scored in double figures to pace Chicago to a 114-111 win.

Three Bucks

  • Michael Redd. With eight points in his previous seven quarters, Michael Redd flipped the switch tonight and poured in 33 and six assists, but needed 27 shots from the field to get there.
  • Charlie Villanueva. After a horrid shooting slump that saw him average just 8.5 ppg in his previous six contests, CV scored 23 of his 26 points in the second half. Like Redd, CV unfortunately required plenty of volume to get his points, shooting 23 times.
  • Ramon Sessions. Though Redd and Villanueva were doing the heavy lifting in the scoring column, Sessions was the x-factor in the Bucks' spirited comeback, finishing a +17 for the game. Entering at 2:56 of the third with the Bucks trailing 91-71, Sessions played the final 15 minutes, tallying four points, five assists, two boards and zero turnovers. Though he shot just 1/5, Sessions again showed a good feel for managing the offense while playing aggressive defense, primarily against Ben Gordon (2/10 fg). In other words, let's make him the first PG off the bench for the final ten games.

Three Numbers

  • 33/39. The game was decided by the stripe, as the Bulls' ability to get there helped them outscore the Bucks 33-19 from the line.
  • +33. While Mo Williams finished with a game-worst minus-16 rating, Ramon Sessions did him 33 better. Granted, +/- alone can be a very deceptive number, but tonight it was a telling representation of the way the Bucks turned it on with Sessions handling the point duties.
  • 7. It was all about balance for the Bulls, who got double-figure scoring from seven players, with Thabo Sefolosha finishing just a point shy of making it eight. Larry Hughes improbably made more than 50% of his shots, scoring 19 on 7/13 shooting, while Andres Nocioni was aggressive all night, making 6/11 en route to 17 points.

Three Good

  • Comeback kids...almost. The Bucks haven't looked too frisky of late, but in the fourth they at least showed some signs of life, as Sessions, Redd, Simmons, Villanueva and Yi gave the Bucks a fighting chance against a Bulls team (sort of) trying to claw their way into the playoffs.
  • Rookie bigs. With Noah starting and Yi coming off the bench, the two lottery picks weren't always battling head to head, but both ended up with nice lines on the night. Noah did most of his offensive damage in the first half, scoring 13 of his 18, but he rebounded and hustled all game long, finishing with 15 boards and four blocks. Yi meanwhile quietly notched 14 points, eight rebounds and a pair of blocks while playing the majority of his minutes at center. Somewhat shockingly, the Bucks ran a play for Yi off an inbounds trailing by five with 12 seconds left, but Noah deflected the ball to help seal the win. Ironically, both Noah and Yi made it known before the draft that they didn't want to play in Milwaukee, but while the Bucks seemed to readily accept Noah's disinterest, they weren't convinced by Yi's game of hard-to-get. The pair also know each other well from their time training together in Los Angeles before the 2007 draft.
  • Sessions watch. We've been asking for more Ramon, and we have yet to be disappointed when he's been on the court. More please.

Three Bad

  • Bogut's beak. While it had been hoped Bogut might be ready to return tonight, the big Aussie missed his second straight game due to the after-effects of surgery on his broken nose. The Bucks were clearly missing Bogut's defensive presence, as the Bulls smartly attacked the Bucks inside all night.
  • Ruffin vs. Noah. Michael Ruffin's been a rebounding machine of late, but getting a well-deserved start in Bogut's absence he had trouble containing Noah, who scored 10 of his 13 first-half points against Ruffin and added another two in the third.
  • Road woes continue. The Bucks have now lost eight straight road games, dating back to their win in Memphis on February 5.