NBA Game Summary - Milwaukee at Chicago
(Tuesday, April 6th)
Final Score: Milwaukee 79, Chicago 74
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - John Salmons scored 26 points against his former team and the Bucks clinched a playoff spot with a 79-74 victory over the Bulls, hurting Chicago's chances for getting into the postseason.
Ersan Ilyasova added 17 points and seven rebounds for the Bucks, who secured their first playoff berth since 2006 and will go to the postseason without standout center Andrew Bogut.
Kurt Thomas had 14 rebounds for Milwaukee, which posted its second straight victory. The Bucks are in a tie with Miami for fifth place in the Eastern Conference, but Milwaukee holds the tiebreaker by virtue of winning the season series.
Bogut underwent successful surgery Monday on his broken right hand to repair damage from his fall during the second quarter of Saturday's 107-98 win over Phoenix. He is expected to be out up to six weeks, meaning he'll likely miss the rest of the season, including playoffs.
"It's (the win) big for a lot of reasons," Salmons said. "We clinched a playoff spot, got that out of the way. We have to learn how to play without Bogut."
Luol Deng had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls, who were limited to nine points in the second quarter. Derrick Rose added 12 points and 11 assists as Chicago remained a game behind eighth-place Toronto. The Raptors lost in Cleveland Tuesday night.
The Bulls will host the Cavaliers on Thursday and play at New Jersey Friday before visiting Toronto Sunday.
"You're not going to be too many teams scoring 74 points," Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. "It was not a solid 48 minutes for us."
Milwaukee is a gaudy 19-6 since acquiring Salmons from Chicago. His reverse layup gave the Bucks a 76-70 cushion with 1:02 remaining, but Rose hit a jumper cutting the lead to four. After Carlos Delfino missed a three-point shot for Milwaukee, Taj Gibson sank a short jumper with 15.4 on the clock.
Salmons made 1-of-2 foul shots with 13.2 seconds left, but the Bulls gave the ball right back as Thomas played superb defense on Brad Miller, forcing the Chicago center to travel.
Brandon Jennings and Delfino each drained a free throw to seal the win.
The Bulls made 11-of-16 shots in the first quarter, on the way to a 27-14 lead, but they were horrendous in the second at a 3-for-17 clip. Milwaukee used an 18-2 run to go ahead with Salmons hitting a late three-pointer. Luke Ridnour's two free throws capped the burst for a 40-36 lead in the final minute of the half. Salmons then tacked on two foul shots just before the break.
Milwaukee was ahead by as many as 12 in the third and went to the fourth holding a 60-51 advantage. The Bulls rallied and grabbed a 65-63 edge on a jumper from Kirk Hinrich, but Milwaukee used a late surge to move in front for good.
Miller had 10 points...Joakim Noah ended with eight points and 11 rebounds for the Bulls...Ridnour scored 13...The Bucks ended 36.4 percent from the field...Milwaukee won the season series, 3-1.
04/07 01:27:29 ET