The Chicago Bulls notched book end victories on their annual “Circus Trip” on Saturday night in Milwaukee, defeating the Bucks, 93-86. After opening the road trip with a win over the Phoenix Suns, Chicago dropped three straight games to the Los Angeles Clippers, Portland Trailblazers and Houston Rockets.
The win over the Bucks was much needed and brings the Bulls to 6-6 on the season and they’ll have a chance to improve on their record with their upcoming homestand against the same Bucks, Dallas Mavericks, Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers.
Despite some up-and-down play this season, Carlos Boozer (22 points, 19 rebounds) was stellar against the Bucks on Saturday night. It was without question the best game he’s played all season and he single handedly dominated the Bucks on the glass. Rip Hamilton (22 points) got off to a fast start in the first quarter and Luol Deng (14 points, eight rebounds), in typical fashion, had another solid outing. Chicago out rebounded the Bucks 54-40 and dominated on second-chance points, 25-5. The defense also picked up in the game and the team looked like the Bulls of old on that side of the ball.
Kirk Hinrich (10 points, four assists) got into foul trouble early and didn’t do so well against his counterpart in Brandon Jennings (23 points). Joakim Noah (nine points, nine rebounds, 5 assists) also had a relatively quiet game after playing so well on the West coast. Noah played eight minutes in the second quarter with almost zero production, save for two assists. Of course, you can’t harp on one sub par game when he’s consistently been playing at an All-Star level and was probably just worn out after notching another game with 40 minutes played.
Tom Thibodeau used an exceptionally short rotation on Saturday night, giving the bulk of the bench minutes to Nate Robinson (four points), Taj Gibson (four points, five rebounds) and Jimmy Butler (six points, seven rebounds). Marco Belinelli (two points) played just four minutes in the ball game. Chicago’s bench was outscored by Milwaukee’s 30-16 and Thibs is going to have to find a way to get more consistency out of his second unit as the season progresses. Turnovers were also a problem against Milwaukee as Chicago gave the ball away 16 times compared to nine for the Bucks. Of those 19, Hamilton accounted for six of those by himself.