“It definitely wasn’t a playoff atmosphere,” Bulls forward Joakim Noah said. “Put it this way, if people were playing for something right now, like a playoff berth, the score would have never been like that.”
Forget playoff atmosphere. It was more like playground ball, with alley-oops and easy buckets galore.
Chris Duhon had 22 points and 15 assists for Chicago, which fell five points short of its scoring record of 156 set March 16, 1984 at Portland, and four points short of its regulation record set against Phoenix on Dec. 4, 1990.
“It was kind of like an All-Star game out there,” Duhon said. “No defense was being played.”
Kind of like an All-Star game, but without any real All-Stars.
Milwaukee, which lost its seventh straight game, allowed Chicago to shoot 67 percent, the worst defensive performance in the Bucks 40-year history and just off the Bulls franchise mark of 70.4 percent that they set against Golden State, Dec. 2, 1981.
“It was a statistician’s nightmare,” Bulls interim coach Jim Boylan joked.
The lone bright spot for the Bucks was rookie Ramon Sessions, who set a franchise record with 24 assists, three more than Guy Rodgers had in Milwaukee’s sixth game as a franchise on Oct. 31, 1968 against Detroit. Sessions also scored 20 points—the first 20-20 with points and assists in franchise history.
Sessions and Bucks coach Larry Krystkowiak hugged immediately after the game. Krystkowiak is widely expected to be fired at the end of the season as the Bucks begin rebuilding with new general manager John Hammond.
“He told me to just keep my head up, play hard,” said Sessions, a second-round pick who toiled in the NBA Developmental League most of the season, but has played outstanding down the stretch. “He was a big part of drafting me, playing me.”
Chicago also hasn’t made a decision on Boylan, who replaced Scott Skiles in December. But Chicago’s record has been better than Milwaukee’s since Boylan took over.
“I joked inside that Scott Skiles would have been really upset if Ramon Sessions would have broke his single-game assist record,” Boylan said. “He had a great game, he was impressive out there.”
Krystkowiak seems resigned to not being back, and pondered 16 seconds before answering a question on the pitfalls of his first full season as an NBA coach.
“If I had to do it over again, things would be different,” he said. “But, some of that was self-inflicted and some of that was external.”
Hammond, who spent seven years as vice president of basketball operations with the Pistons before replacing Larry Harris, said Monday night he would be fair in making a quick decision about Krystkowiak. Hammond refused to put a timetable on when he might make a move.
Krystkowiak, who played most of his career in Milwaukee and has close ties to Bucks owner Sen. Herb Kohl, said he’ll do whatever is best for the franchise.
“No sour apples here. I’m going to focus on as much of the positives as I can and chalk a lot of stuff up to experience,” he said. “I want nothing but the best for the franchise. They gave me an opportunity to play here, coach here, so regardless of what happens, I’m going to be expressing my opinions and what I think down the road.”
Andrew Bogut scored 25 points, while Michael Redd and Charlie Villanueva each had 22 points for the Bucks. Villanueva scored 18 of his points in the first quarter as Milwaukee took an early 12-point lead.
But Milwaukee, which lost for the 12th time after leading by double digits, gave up 42 points in the second quarter as Chicago took an 81-71 halftime lead. The 81 points at halftime was 13 more than the Bulls scored in a half this season and 14 more than they scored in a game in a loss at Minnesota on Jan. 30.
The Bulls kept extending their advantage, hitting the century mark with 6:52 to go in the third quarter off Tyrus Thomas’ jumper, and leading 120-101 going into the fourth quarter.
The Bucks allowed Buffalo to shoot 66.7 percent on Feb. 19, 1974. … Rodgers has the most assists in Bulls franchise history with 24, set Dec. 21, 1966. … It was Deng’s ninth career game with 30 points or more. … Bucks G Mo Williams (groin) missed the game.