Chicago’s tremendous turnaround after losing its first nine games of the season has hit a snag with three consecutive losses, including Saturday’s 95-87 defeat in Milwaukee. It was the Bulls’ 14th straight defeat at the Bradley Center.
One night after giving up 14 offensive rebounds in a loss at San Antonio, Chicago allowed 17 to Milwaukee and was outrebounded 49-43.
“I thought we were doing a pretty good job, but you can’t give a team that many second chances,” said Kirk Hinrich, who led Chicago with 24 points.
Hinrich, though, went 3-of-10 from 3-point range and the Bulls finished 5-for-23. Chicago has shot 18 percent (8-for-44) from beyond the arc during the three-game skid, including 0-for-8 by Hinrich’s starting backcourt mate, Chris Duhon.
The Bulls’ first guard off the bench, however, continues to be a bright spot. Ben Gordon scored 20 points for the second straight night Saturday, and is averaging 19.8 over the last 10 games.
Milwaukee’s reserves gave the team a big boost Saturday by scoring 24 points, including eight apiece by ex-Bulls Toni Kukoc and Marcus Fizer. The Bucks’ bench had accounted for just 12 points over the previous two games— losses to Philadelphia and Minnesota.
“Our bench really stepped up big for us tonight,” Milwaukee coach Terry Porter said. “They were much more aggressive than they’ve been and really made us a difference for us. We’re a much better team when that happens.”
Porter’s reserves also had 13 rebounds, nine assists and six steals Saturday.
The Bucks have gone 4-3 since the All-Star break.
Second-year point guard Maurice Williams has stepped up his play during that stretch, averaging 15.6 points and 8.6 assists. He had his first double-double since November with 16 points and 11 assists in Saturday’s win.