Milwaukee at Chicago

Rookie Noah leads Bulls past Bucks, closer into playoff picture

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CHICAGO -- Joakim Noah's big game was nearly spoiled by another fourth-quarter collapse by the Chicago Bulls.

Noah had a season-high 18 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks to lead the Bulls to a 114-111 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night after nearly squandering a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter.

The Bulls couldn't hold an 18-point lead earlier in the month at home against the 76ers and dropped a game to the Wizards after leading by 20 points in the second half.

"For some reason that's something that we've been struggling with all season," Noah said. "I think it's all about being on the same page. We pulled together at the end and we got stops when we needed them. But I think we just have to do a better job of more consistent defense for 12 minutes especially in the fourth quarter."

Larry Hughes scored 19 points and Luol Deng added 16 to help the Bulls win for just the fourth time in 12 games. Chicago pulled 3½ games behind eighth-place Atlanta for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Michael Redd scored 33 points to lead the Bucks, who lost for the 12 time in 14 games in March. Charlie Villanueva scored 15 of this 26 points in the third quarter, and Mo Williams added 13 points for Milwaukee.

"The talent is here. We got it, it's just a matter of doing it," Villanueva said.

Trailing 98-77 with 11:08 left in the game, the Bucks rallied with a 19-2 run over the next 4:05 to pull within four. Villanueva had a three-point play, Bobby Simmons hit a 3 and Ramon Sessions made two free throws during the spurt.

"Very happy the fact that we responded even though we were down 20-plus at one point," Redd said. "We just did a terrific job of just fighting."

Thabo Sefolosha's 3-pointer stretched Chicago's lead to 109-100 nearly three minutes later.

Yi Jianlin made two free throws and Redd had a three-point play and a driving layup in the Bucks' 7-0 run to pull to 112-109 with 32.4 seconds left.

Hughes then made two free throws 18 seconds later to finally seal the win.

"It has a lot to deal with confidence. Once we figure that out we will be fine," Hughes said.

Leading 33-26 in the second quarter, the Bulls stretched their advantage with a 15-4 run during 4:11 span. Andres Nocioni scored six points during the stretch and gave Chicago a 48-30 lead on a driving layup with 6:13 to go in the second quarter.

The Bulls shot 57 percent in the first half and led 67-54 at the break.

Notes

  • Chicago was without F Drew Gooden (abdominal strain) and C Aaron Gray (back spasms).
  • Bucks G Charlie Bell is out with a MCL tear and Milwaukee also missed C Andrew Bogut (nasal fracture).
  • The Bulls had its 85th consecutive sellout.
  • Nocioni finished with 17 points as a reserve.
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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The Bulls get a much-needed lift from Joakim Noah, who adds 18 points, 15 rebounds.  (Getty Images)
The Bulls get a much-needed lift from Joakim Noah, who adds 18 points, 15 rebounds. (Getty Images)
Scoreboard
Milwaukee (24-48) 22322334111
Chicago (29-44) «31362720114
MIL:M. Redd 33 Pts
MIL:C. Villanueva 9 Reb
MIL:M. Redd 6 Ast
CHI:L. Hughes 19 Pts
CHI:J. Noah 15 Reb
CHI:K. Hinrich 6 Ast
Players of the Game
ChicagoMilwaukee

J. Noah

M. Redd
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
181523326

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Milwaukee
M. Redd, SG4613-275-526133
C. Villanueva, PF4011-234-493626
M. Williams, PG296-130-025313
D. Mason, SF272-62-44436
M. Ruffin, C263-40-06326
Y. Jianlian, SF244-96-680314
B. Simmons, SF203-60-03137
R. Sessions, PG151-52-22514
R. Ivey, PG70-10-00110
D. Gadzuric, C61-40-04012
J. Voskuhl, CDid Not Play
C. Bell, SGDid Not Play
A. Storey, SFDid Not Play
A. Bogut, CDid Not Play
Totals 44-9819-21402824111
 44.9%90.5% 
Chicago
L. Deng, SF417-152-472116
J. Noah, PF397-134-5152118
K. Hinrich, PG373-104-736211
L. Hughes, SG327-134-434219
T. Thomas, PF222-36-672510
A. Nocioni, SF216-115-541217
B. Gordon, SG202-106-634211
T. Sefolosha, SG173-42-23239
C. Duhon, PG111-10-00013
D. Gooden, PFDid Not Play
S. Brown, PGDid Not Play
C. Simmons, SFDid Not Play
J. Curry, PGDid Not Play
A. Gray, CDid Not Play
D. Nichols, SFDid Not Play
Totals 38-8033-39452319114
 47.5%84.6% 
Other Games
Cle 71 Final
Det 85
Pho 110 Final
NJ 104
GS 112 Final
Den 119
Char 93 Final
Port 85
Mem 97 Final
LAC 110