Gordon now looks to help the Bulls (22-17) push their winning streak to three Tuesday night when they make the short drive up to Milwaukee to face the Bucks (17-20).
Gordon, named the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year in 2004-05 as a rookie, struggled as a starter the first six games of this season before coach Scott Skiles returned him to his more comfortable role as the team’s top reserve. But with Chris Duhon enduring a slump of his own before serving a one-game suspension Monday for missing practice the previous day, Skiles has again penciled Gordon into his starting five, and the results this time around have been encouraging.
The third-year guard made 17 of 28 shots (60.7 percent) and averaged 22.0 points as Chicago posted home wins over Memphis and San Antonio in a three-day span. Gordon went 9-for-18 from the field and scored 20 points as the Bulls beat the Spurs 99-87 on Monday.
“I don’t want to be short-handed, but we’ve been able to get away with it for a couple of games,” Skiles said. “It’s not something long-term I want to do. It gives other guys who are good NBA players an opportunity to play. You get to see other people and it helps me get a different perspective on some other guys.”
Duhon is set to return Tuesday, but it’s uncertain how Skiles will use him against the Bucks.
Fellow starting guard Kirk Hinrich appears to enjoy playing alongside Gordon, recording his second straight solid game with 23 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists against San Antonio. He’s 16-for-29 (55.2 percent) from the floor with 15 assists, 13 rebounds and just four turnovers in the last two contests.
“I have been feeling good the last few games. I kind of gotten back to myself, playing aggressive on both ends and I think my floor game has been a lot better,” said Hinrich, who also had an excellent game defensively in limiting Spurs point guard Tony Parker to six points and two assists.
Bulls center Ben Wallace, who has missed the last two games with a sore back, is listed as day-to-day.
Hinrich’s counterpart at point guard Tuesday will be 5-foot-5 Earl Boykins, who’s still getting acclimated to playing with Milwaukee after being acquired from Denver last week. The diminutive Boykins, though, is making quick adjustments and had 30 points and four assists in Milwaukee’s 99-91 win at Charlotte on Monday that snapped a season-high five-game losing streak.
The Bucks, short-handed without their injured starting backcourt of leading scorer Michael Redd and top playmaker Mo Williams, have remained competitive thanks to the inspired play of Boykins and 7-foot Andrew Bogut. The second-year Australian center had 27 points, 11 rebounds and six assists Monday, and claims to have already found a comfort zone with Boykins.
“He’s easy to read,” said Bogut, who shot a career-best 12-for-15. “Guys think he’s little so he’s not going to get into the lane, but he gets in the lane and he’ll kick it out if he’s doubled. It’s pretty easy basketball after that.”
Bogut has recorded double-doubles in his last three games, averaging 21.3 points and 17.7 rebounds while shooting 65.9 percent (29-for-44) from the field. He struggled in his first two games against the Bulls this season, totaling just 10 points and nine rebounds in a pair of losses.
The Bucks have gone 15-1 at home against the Bulls since Michael Jordan led Chicago to a 104-87 win March 29, 1998. The Bulls’ lone win in that span was a 105-91 victory Jan. 6, 2006.