Ersan Ilyasova has suffered through an unthinkable start to the 2012-13 NBA season, but he played his best game of the season on Monday night as the Milwaukee Bucks reserves mounted an unbelievable comeback against the Chicago Bulls. The Bucks' bench ripped off a 31-4 run in the second half to close a huge gap on the Bulls, and in the final minutes Ilyasova and the backups closed the deal on a thrilling 93-92 win.
Ilyasova finished with a team-high 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting, and he tied Ekpe Udoh and Larry Sanders for the team lead with six rebounds. Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah still combined to pull down 10 offensive rebounds (and 21 boards overall), but baby steps forward for Ilyasova are better than anything else he's shown this season. During the post-game coverage on FSN-Wisconsin, veteran announcer Jim Paschke enthusiastically joked: "Ersan Ilyasova has earned a spot on the bench!" He was making reference to the fact that Ersan got shifted out of the starting lineup for the first time this season in the rematch against the Bulls (John Henson took his place), but the bench might actually be the perfect spot for the Turk to re-discover his game. We explored the idea of Ersan's rebirth on the bench in a celebratory podcast. Enjoy!
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