(Sports Network) - The Chicago Bulls hope to display some respectability on
their five-game road trip, which concludes Saturday night with the start of a
home-and-home set against the Central Division-rival Milwaukee Bucks at the
The Bulls opened the trek with a win at Phoenix, but have since dropped three
in a row, including Wednesday's 93-89 setback at Houston. Nate Robinson posted
13 of his season-high 21 points in the fourth quarter and Carlos Boozer
finished with 13 points and 15 rebounds for the Bulls, losers in four of their
last five games.
"Our defense is not what it used to be," Bulls center Joakim Noah said. "It's
not what it was last year that's for sure. We have to do better. Losing three
in a row is unacceptable. We're better than that."
Chicago dropped its third straight game in the regular season for the first
time under coach Tom Thibodeau.
"Obviously, you hate the losing part of it. I'm more concerned with us doing
things the right way and focusing in on our improvement. ... We can't pick and
choose," Thibodeau said. "We have to be tied together the entire time. We
can't do the easy thing. We have to do the tough thing."
Luol Deng scored 19 points in a losing effort and has led the team in scoring
a team-high four times. Boozer has three double-doubles in his last four
games, averaging 16.8 points and 11.0 boards in that span.
Chicago is still playing without injured All-Star guard Derrick Rose (knee)
and will start a four-game homestand Monday versus the Bucks, Mavericks, 76ers
Milwaukee, which sits atop the Central standings, has lost back-to-back games
since winning three straight and was edged by the defending champion Miami
Heat 113-106 in overtime on Wednesday.
The Heat outscored the Bucks by a 15-8 margin in the extra period and were led
by LeBron James' 28 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Dwyane Wade
returned from a two-game absence and scored 28 points as well. James, Wade and
Chris Bosh combined for 80 points.
Brandon Jennings paced Milwaukee with 19 points, seven boards, six assists and
five steals, while rookie John Henson registered a double-double with 17
points and 18 rebounds. The Bucks held a 91-84 advantage with just under five
minutes left in regulation, but the Heat answered with 10 straight points and
eventually went on to the win. Miami scored six straight to open OT.
"We had so many rough moments in the first half and then we were able to
battle back right before halftime," Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. "They
played pretty hard in the second half. At 91-84 we were in good position. We
had a small margin of error against that team. We kind of fell asleep on
The Bucks can't afford to sleep on the Bulls, who have won eight in a row in
this series and four straight in Brew City. The Bulls have not won five in a
row at the Bradley Center since a six-game run from 1995-96 to 1997-98, and
are 12-4 versus the Bucks since Skiles was named coach prior to the 2008-09
The Sports Network