CHICAGO -- Ben Gordon looked sharp in his jacket and tie as he stood by his locker after the game. He earned more than a few style points on the court, too.
Gordon, who was 15-of-25 from the field, was two points shy of his career high when he headed to the bench with 3:29 left and the Bulls ahead by 22 points. He had 22 points and all of his assists in the first half.
"We have great potential," Gordon said. "We've got to make it happen."
And the Bulls did just that on Monday.
Andres Nocioni and Luol Deng each scored 17 points for Chicago, while P.J. Brown finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Brown was 6-for-12 from the field, after going 1-for-10 over the first three games.
And Ben Wallace grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked five shots.
The Bulls looked more like the team that opened the season with a 42-point victory at defending champion Miami than the one that lost its next two games. After blowing a six-point lead in the final 1:19 and losing by one to Sacramento in Friday's home-opener, Chicago took control in the first half Monday and never relinquished it.
The Bulls were active on both ends. They shot 54.1 percent (46-of-85) and had 24 fastbreak points to Milwaukee's eight. The Bucks were 32-of-78 overall, but just 4-of-22 on 3-pointers. The Bulls held a 44-33 rebounding edge, and their bench outscored Milwaukee's 32-16.
"Their penetration sucked us in, we couldn't contain the ball, and they were hitting 3s and jump shots," Redd said. "We couldn't contain them tonight. You don't win a lot of ballgames letting your opponent shoot (59.1) percent at halftime and allowing 60 points. You're just not going to win -- not on the road."
Bucks coach Terry Stotts said, "We are just not executing at the offensive end, and our perimeter defense is not there. Consistency is the sign of a good team, and we're not there."
Down 18 points at halftime, the Bucks threatened late in the third, but the Bulls stopped them. No surprise, Gordon played a key role.
The Bucks were within 73-61 after Redd banked in a jumper with just under two minutes left in the quarter.
Gordon then hit a spinning layup and a free throw to complete the three-point play. Then, he rebounded Redd's missed jumper and fired the ball upcourt to Thabo Sefolosha, who in one motion caught it with one hand and whipped a pass to Wallace for a layup. And an emphatic two-handed dunk by Deng in the closing seconds made it 80-61.
Milwaukee was within 14 midway through the fourth when Wallace -- the Bulls' big free agent signing in the offseason -- blocked a jumper by Redd. He also helped limit Andrew Bogut to six points on 1-for-5 shooting.
"It's almost like he's all over the floor," Deng said. "His instincts defensively ... you really see it. It's so obvious out there."
After scoring five points against Sacramento, Gordon was 9-for-15 from the field in the first half, and his teammates weren't bad, either. The Bulls shot 26-of-44 -- 14-of-19 in the second quarter -- and took a 60-42 halftime lead.
Bulls coach Scott Skiles said he would consider a lineup change, but he stuck with Kirk Hinrich, Gordon, Deng, Brown and Wallace. The Bulls added Brown and Wallace during the offseason, so Skiles realizes he needs to "be patient" given the turnover.
Gordon figures the Bulls will hit their peak by the All-Star break.
"It just takes games to get used to each other," Gordon said. "We have eight new faces, and by then, we'll be playing really good."
|Ben Gordon sets a career high in assists (nine) and comes close to a career high in scoring as well. (AP)|
|Chicago (2-2) «||27||33||20||30||110|
|MIL:M. Redd 30 Pts
MIL:C. Villanueva 13 Reb
MIL:M. Williams 6 Ast
|CHI:B. Gordon 37 Pts
CHI:P. Brown 11 Reb
CHI:B. Gordon 9 Ast
|Players of the Game|
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|M. Redd, SG||40||9-20||10-10||3||0||0||30|
|C. Villanueva, PF||34||8-11||0-0||13||2||4||17|
|M. Williams, PG||32||3-13||0-0||6||6||5||6|
|A. Bogut, C||30||1-5||4-4||3||3||2||6|
|R. Patterson, SF||27||4-8||2-2||1||2||2||10|
|C. Bell, SG||24||3-12||1-1||1||2||0||7|
|B. Skinner, PF||18||1-1||0-0||4||1||2||2|
|S. Blake, PG||17||0-3||0-0||0||1||3||0|
|D. Gadzuric, C||6||0-1||0-0||2||0||2||0|
|E. Ilyasova, SF||4||2-3||0-1||0||0||0||4|
|D. Noel, SF||4||1-1||0-0||0||0||1||3|
|D. Markota, PF||3||0-0||0-0||0||1||0||0|
|B. Simmons, SF||Did Not Play|
|L. Greer, PG||Did Not Play|
|C. McCray, SG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|B. Gordon, SG||41||15-25||5-6||4||9||3||37|
|B. Wallace, C||40||3-5||0-2||10||4||1||6|
|L. Deng, SF||39||7-14||3-4||9||2||3||17|
|P. Brown, C||29||6-12||1-1||11||1||1||13|
|K. Hinrich, PG||22||2-6||0-0||2||7||4||5|
|A. Nocioni, SF||27||7-12||2-3||3||3||2||17|
|T. Sefolosha, SG||26||4-9||0-0||2||4||2||9|
|M. Allen, PF||4||1-1||2-2||1||0||0||4|
|C. Duhon, PG||4||0-0||0-0||1||0||3||0|
|V. Khryapa, SF||4||1-1||0-0||1||2||1||2|
|A. Griffin, SF||3||0-0||0-0||0||1||0||0|
|M. Sweetney, PF||Did Not Play|
|A. Barrett, PG||Did Not Play|
|M. Andriuskevicius, C||Did Not Play|
|T. Thomas, PF||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|