CHICAGO - Ersan Ilyasova didn't start on Monday, but he led a remarkable finish. The Milwaukee Bucks trailed by 27 points late in the third quarter, then rallied for a stunning 93-92 victory over Chicago at the United Center.
The comeback snapped a three-game losing streak for Milwaukee, which had lost nine straight to the Bulls. Ilyasova led the visitors with 18 points.
The Bucks' winning basket came on a bank shot by forward Ekpe Udoh with 57.5 seconds remaining. On Chicago's next trip, Richard Hamilton's shot was blocked. Teammate Joakim Noah grabbed the rebound, but had the ball stripped away.
On the other end, Milwaukee rebounded a missed 3-point shot and an errant free throw to keep possession. But Kirk Hinrich deflected an inbounds pass, giving the ball to the Bulls, still trailing by one with 7.5 seconds left. This time, Hamilton forced his way into the lane, but his 10-footer was off target and the rebound was batted away as time expired.
Udoh, Beno Udrih and rookie John Henson each scored 11 points for the Bucks. Hamilton led Chicago with 30 points, while Carlos Boozer scored 19.
This game appeared to be a runaway late in the third quarter when the Bulls opened up a 78-51 advantage with 2:47 left on a Hinrich 3-pointer. Milwaukee scored the final six points of the quarter, but still trailed 80-63 after three.
Things turned around remarkably fast, though, as the Bucks started the fourth quarter with a 19-2 run and tied the score at 82-82 on a 3-pointer by Mike Dunleavy with 6:57 remaining in the fourth. The 27-point comeback took less than eight minutes.
The teams traded three baskets before Milwaukee took the lead on a driving layin and 3-point play by Ilyasova with 1:37 remaining.
Skiles' decision to start Henson paid off early. The 6-foot-11 power forward from North Carolina scored five points in the opening five minutes and the Bucks jumped out to a 13-8 lead. The Bulls closed the quarter on an 18-6 run to take a seven-point lead at the end of one.
The Bulls pulled out to a 10-point lead late in the second quarter and finished the first half with a 50-40 advantage after Hamilton's jumper was goaltended by Henson.
NOTES: Milwaukee forward Drew Gooden, who has yet to play in a game this season, announced via Twitter that he'd give away his tickets to Monday's game to the first person to send him a twitpic of a Bulls jersey in a toilet. The winning photo featured a jersey of Hinrich, Gooden's college teammate at Kansas. Gooden played for the Bulls from 2008-09. ... Skiles shuffled his starting lineup on Monday, using Henson and veteran center Sam Dalembert. Slumping Ilyasova came off the bench. Seldom-used Joel Przybilla started at center on Saturday against the Bulls. ... Milwaukee point guard Brandon Jennings sprained his left ankle in the final minute of Saturday's loss to Chicago, but was in the starting lineup Monday.