Pro basketball

Bulls cash in the Bucks

2014-04-04T21:45:00Z 2014-04-05T15:06:09Z Bulls cash in the BucksAl Hamnik al.hamnik@nwi.com, (219) 933-4154 nwitimes.com
April 04, 2014 9:45 pm  • 

CHICAGO | A Milwaukee radio station recently held a contest where first prize was a ticket to a Bucks game.

Second prize was four tickets.

Yes, it's gotten that bad.

As Charles Barkley would say: a TUR-rible, TUR-rible team.

The Bucks stumbled into Chicago on Friday night, losers of 11 straight on the road, 5-33 away from home, allowing 103.3 points per game, and one loss shy of a franchise record-tying 62nd.

As the worst draw in the NBA, it's hard to get excited over a roster that has Ekpe Udoh, Ersan Ilyasova, Miroslav Raduljica, Zaza Pachilia and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

But no one was laughing at the squeamish United Center as the Bulls, with seven players in double figures, slipped by Milwaukee 102-90 in a sloppy game featuring 77 free throws.

"Give them credit. They played hard throughout the game, played together. They didn't go away," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "Defensively, we could obviously do better."

Jimmy Butler and Kirk Hinrich led the way with 17 points apiece. Joakim Noah had a game-high 13 rebounds, Carlos Boozer 11.

"It wasn't pretty, but we'll take it. Wins don't come easy in this league," said Hinrich, his teammates assisting on 24 of their 31 baskets.

Chicago (44-32) led by as many as 22 points, 82-60, but Milwaukee (14-62) twice cut it to eight in the foul-plagued final quarter.

The Bucks finished 26 of 35 at the line, Chicago 33 of 42.

"No lead is safe," Thibodeau said. "It was a tight whistle tonight, both ways. There were a lot of whistles."

Brandon Knight's 22 points topped the injury-riddled Bucks, whose limited bench was outscored 31-10. Jeff Adrien added 21.

The Bulls have six games left before the playoffs, and Thibodeau, when asked if they'd be ready if the postseason began tomorrow, ducked it like a dodgeball player.

"They don't start tomorrow, so we're not concerned with that," he said. "The important thing is to go step by step. Once you start looking ahead, it takes you off of what you really need to concentrate on -- your improvement and getting ready for that night."

You were expecting, what, bulletin board material? Thibodeau wouldn't even call tonight's game at Washington, which has beaten his Bulls twice, a statement game.

"You guys are into your statement games and your rivalries. We worry about the game at hand, and that was tonight," he said.

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