CHICAGO (AP)—Someone will end up in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, earning homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
It might just be the Milwaukee Bucks, who ended a five-game road trip in positive fashion.
Milwaukee is just a half-game behind New Orleans for the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference and snapped a five-game losing streak to the Bulls in Chicago.
“It’s really getting tight, now we have to take care of our own,” said Damon Jones, who had 21 points and seven assists. “We’re in control of our own destiny. What we need to do is go out and put a string of consistent efforts together and hopefully we can get a great rhythm going into the playoffs.”
Van Horn did not return after spraining his left ankle in the first quarter. He scored six points.
The Bucks went 2-3 on their five-game road trip.
“Guys are ready to go home and sleep in their bed, its been a long trip,” Mason said.
In his third appearance with Chicago, Jannero Pargo tied a franchise record for most 3s in a game with seven. Michael Jordan and Jalen Rose share the record. Pargo scored a career-high 34 points, shooting 13-for-22 from the floor with nine assists.
“I definitely had it going. My teammates got me the ball and I was fortunate the ball went down,” Pargo said.
Michael Redd added 20 points for the Bucks.
The Bucks controlled most of the game. A 14-0 run ending with Smith’s jumper and dunk gave Milwaukee 24-10 lead. Mason extended the lead to 47-23 on an alley-oop dunk from Jones with 10:30 left in the second quarter.
Linton Johnson hit a jumper to get Chicago within 78-72 with 3:23 left in the third quarter, but the Bucks responded with a 10-2 run as Redd had back-to-back drives for baskets to give Milwaukee a 88-74 lead.
Marcus Fizer, playing in his first game since Feb. 28th, added 24 points for Chicago.
The Bulls have lost 10 of their last 12 games. Eddy Curry scored just two points in 23 minutes.
“They played like they were playing for something and we more or else played like we were disinterested,” Bulls head coach Scott Skiles said. “So, I can’t say that surprises me because it’s been an up and down process, some
Bucks center Dan Gadzuric sat out with a sprained right ankle. … Kendall Gill (migraine headache) and Jerome Williams (sprained left ankle) were both out for Chicago. … Milwaukee tied a United Center record with 24 freethrows in the second half.