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Bucks rally past Bulls
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Ekpe Udoh's driving layup with 57.5 seconds remaining capped a furious second-half comeback that lifted the Milwaukee Bucks to a 93-92 decision over the Chicago Bulls at the United Center.
Udoh finished with 11 points -- eight of which came after halftime -- while Ersan Ilyasova put up 17 of his team-best 18 points over the final two quarters to help the Bucks overcome a 27-point deficit late in the third period and end a string of nine consecutive losses to the Bulls. That included a 93-86 setback in Milwaukee in Saturday's opener of this home-and-home series.
The Bucks trailed 78-51 with 2:50 remaining in the third quarter, then proceeded to outscore Chicago by a 42-14 count over the final 14-plus minutes.
Richard Hamilton poured in 30 points and Carlos Boozer had 19 along with 11 rebounds for the Bulls, but Chicago shot a woeful 21.1 percent (4-for-19) in the fourth quarter to squander its sizeable lead.
"I'm stunned just by the simple fact that when you have a 25-point lead and the way that we defend, you never expect a team to make a run like that," said Hamilton.
Milwaukee, on the other hand, knocked down 13-of-21 field goal attempts (61.9 percent) over that time frame and scored 30 points -- all coming from its reserves. Ilyasova led the charge with 12 points in the session.
"That group played very well together," said Bucks head coach Scott Skiles of the second unit. "They played with a lot of energy, we finally played some good defense, made shots and just overall played much better."
Removed from the starting lineup in favor of rookie John Henson for the first time this season, Ilyasova triggered an improbable Milwaukee comeback that began with a 12-2 surge over the final three minutes of the third quarter. A bucket by Mike Dunleavy brought the Bucks within 80-61 with 6.9 seconds to go in the stanza, and Udoh sank a jumper at the buzzer following a Chicago turnover to make it a 17-point differential.
Milwaukee kept rolling during the early stages of the fourth, ripping off 13 consecutive points to close within 80-76 on a Doron Lamb bucket less than four minutes in, and the Bucks would pull even at 82-82 just over a minute later on back-to-back triples by Ilyasova and Dunleavy.
"It's a long game, and you're hoping you can do what we did," said Skiles. "You're holding out hope that somehow you can get it to 16, get it to 12, get it to eight and just sort of walk the game down like that, and the guys did a good job of that."
Neither team was up by more than two points the rest of the way. Ilyasova was fouled while converting a layup with 1:37 to go and nailed the subsequent bonus shot for a 91-90 Milwaukee lead, but Hamilton knocked home a short runner on the other end to send the Bulls back in front.
Udoh then went strong to the basket and scored with just under a minute showing to account for the third lead change of the quarter, and it would stand after the Bulls misfired on their final three attempts -- the last a contested jumper from Hamilton that landed off the rim at the buzzer.
The Bulls took control late in the first quarter, netting the final eight points of the period and the initial basket of the second to take a 28-19 lead. Milwaukee countered with a 9-3 run capped by a conventional 3-point play by Udoh to pull to within 31-28 with nine minutes left before intermission, but that would be as close as the Bucks would get for quite some time.
Boozer and Nate Robinson made back-to-back baskets to push Chicago's advantage up to seven points, and the margin later swelled to double digits when a pair of Kirk Hinrich free throws made it a 46-36 game heading into the half's final two minutes. The Bulls would carry a 50-40 lead into the break.
Chicago then dominated the majority of the third quarter, putting together a 17-6 spurt over the first five minutes to build a 21-point cushion at 67-46.
Milwaukee's most recent victory over the Bulls had been a 79-74 decision in Chicago on April 6, 2010 ... Bucks guard Brandon Jennings did play despite exiting Saturday's loss with a sprained left ankle, but managed just six points on 2-of-9 shooting in 26 minutes ... Henson, Milwaukee's first-round pick in this year's draft, finished with 11 points in 15 minutes in his first career start ... The Bulls went 17-of-19 from the free throw line after making 25-of-26 foul shots in Saturday's win over the Bucks.
11/26 23:54:55 ET
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