The Milwaukee Bucks rely on their bench offensively more than most teams. Additional scoring from starting center Andrew Bogut(notes), though, may be what they need to put together a long winning streak.
After getting an outstanding effort from their reserves, the Bucks hope Bogut can post a second straight strong game against the Chicago Bulls on Friday night.
Milwaukee (14-18) got 53 points from its bench in a 98-76 win over New Jersey on Tuesday night. A victory versus the Bulls (14-19) would give the Bucks three straight for the first time since Nov. 18-21.
“That’s how we have to win,” Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles said. “We have to have three, four, five guys play well on any given night.”
The Bucks have one of the top scoring benches in the league, getting an average of 36.6 points from their reserves.
Bogut was the only starter to reach double figures in scoring with 18 points. Milwaukee is 10-1 when the 7-footer scores at least 17, losing only to Eastern Conference-leading Boston.
Bogut had 22 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks in a 99-97 win over Chicago on Nov. 30. He had 16 points against the Bulls on Nov. 3, and the Bucks lost 83-81 in the teams’ only other meeting this season.
“It’s a long season and the starters are not going to have it each and every night,” Thomas said. “We know that, and all the guys on the bench are waiting for that opportunity to go out and play well.”
Carlos Delfino(notes) led the Bucks’ reserves with 17 points against the Nets after scoring 10 total in his previous five games. The fifth-year forward added five rebounds, three assists and three steals.
“When he’s active like that, he’s a good enough player that things are going to happen for him,” Skiles said.
Reserve point guard Luke Ridnour(notes) continues to be a strong complement to star rookie Brandon Jennings(notes). Ridnour is averaging 13.8 points while shooting 43.8 percent over his last five games.
Ridnour, though, has been held to a combined six points in two matchups with the Bulls this season.
Jennings and Ridnour will be matched up with Derrick Rose(notes), averaging 24.3 points in his last nine contests. Rose had 24 points against Charlotte on Tuesday night, but missed a game-tying 3-pointer in the closing seconds of a 113-108 Chicago loss.
Rose had nine assists but matched a career high with seven turnovers.
“We’ve got to execute down the stretch better,” Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said.
Chicago has lost two straight after winning its previous four, and has one win in its last 10 road games.
Luol Deng(notes) is averaging 13.8 points and shooting 42.6 percent in his last five games away from the United Center, but he’s averaging 23.5 points and shooting 58.5 percent in his last six games against the Bucks.