Facing former Bulls' head coach Jim Boylan for the first time since he took over for another former Bulls head coach, Scott Skiles, and facing the Bucks for the first time since coughing up a 27-point second half lead at home to them in November, the Bulls started excellently again, only to see their offense and defense abandon them simultaneously in the second half.
The Bulls led 24-9 in the first quarter before the Bucks started to pull themselves together, but things only went downhill from there. They led by 10, 55-45, with a minute and 20 seconds left in the first half, but then allowed a 27-9 run over the next eight and a half minutes.
Much of that can be traced to Brandon Jennings. Jennings scored 20 points in the third quarter — the entire Bulls team scored 23 — and 35 in the game, torching Nate Robinson all over the place. It was, weirdly enough, a situation in which Kirk Hinrich would actually have been useful, at least in theory. He certainly couldn't have been any worse than Robinson, who lit it up for 13 points on 5/6 shooting in the first quarter, but scored just 6 points on 3/11 afterward in addition to being utterly destroyed by Jennings.
The Bulls are such a screwy team. They beat the Miami Heat on the road on Friday, came home and blew out the hapless Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday, and then threw up this stink bomb on Wednesday. This just 9 days after they lost to the Charlotte Bobcats at home. It makes no freaking sense. As a follow up, they'll probably beat the New York Knicks in NYC for the second time in a month. You know, because logic.
Anyway, the Bulls played poorly — Carlos Boozer's 22 and 11 not withstanding and wow that feels weird to say — and more or less deserved to lose. The defense was lackluster even beyond Robinson's struggles, as the Bulls — one of the best teams at defending the three point line — allowed Mike Dunleavy, whose ONLY FUNCTION in the NBA is to shoot the ball, to go 4/5 from three.
That said, they still could have won the game. Marco Belinelli found himself as open as it is possible to be in the corner with the Bucks leading by four and less than a minute on the clock, but clanked what would have been a huge three pointer. That was the ballgame, more or less.
Player o' the Game: Carlos Boozer (22 points, 11 rebounds)
This makes Boozer's 6th straight 20-10 game. I don't really know how he's doing it, but he's randomly turned into a player that's actually worth $15 million per year. Or rather, a player who should no longer be reviled just because he makes $15 million a year. The Bulls randomly stopped giving him the ball down the stretch, but he was still great.
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