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News » BUCKS 99, BULLS 97 Blocking the charge Bogut nets 22 points as Bucks hang on for win

BUCKS 99, BULLS 97 Blocking the charge Bogut nets 22 points as Bucks hang on for win

BUCKS 99, BULLS 97  Blocking the charge  Bogut nets 22 points as Bucks hang on for win By TOM ENLUND

The Milwaukee Bucks held off the Chicago Bulls down the stretch for a 99-97 victory Monday night at the Bradley Center.

Center Andrew Bogut returned from injury to lead the Bucks with 22 points and 15 rebounds, while forward Luol Deng led Chicago with 22 points and 14 rebounds.

The Bulls overcame a 14-point, third-quarter deficit and the game was tied at 89-89 with 4 minutes left.

A layup by Bogut put Milwaukee ahead with 3:04 left and Charlie Bell followed with a layup with 2:29 left.

After Chicago's Joakim Noah made one of two free throws, Milwaukee's Carlos Delfino missed a three-pointer but Bogut blocked a dunk attempt by Deng.

Goaltending was then called on Deng on a shot by Bogut and the Bucks led, 95-90. Deng sank two free throws with 56 seconds left, and Delfino made one free throw with 25.6 seconds to go. A three-pointer by Chicago's John Salmons cut Milwaukee's lead to 96-95 with 14.7 seconds left.

Milwaukee's Brandon Jennings went to the foul line with 13.2 seconds left and sank both free throws. Salmons dropped in a layup with 8.6 seconds left and Bell made one of two foul shots with 7.1 seconds left. Chicago's Brad Miller missed a jumper from the foul line at the buzzer.

The Bucks snapped a four-game losing streak.

"We've been coming up short," Bucks veteran forward Kurt Thomas said before the game. "We just have to keep working. We know we're banged up right now, but that's not an excuse. We have to keep competing, keep fighting, and the wins will come."

The Bucks received some good news on the injury front as Bogut was back in the starting lineup after missing six games with a strained lower left leg.

"He's a huge part of our team," said Bucks coach Scott Skiles. "Both of the last two years when he's been out, our rebounding drops. Our defensive numbers drop."

Skiles added that Bogut's presence on the floor often meant as much as what showed up in the box score.

"Absolutely," said Skiles. "He's always in the right spot. He knows what we're going to do. He's a good screener. He can have an 18 (-point), 11 (-rebound) game, but he does a lot of little things that aren't in the stats that help us win."

Bogut said that staying home and rehabilitating when the team went on a recent weeklong trip had helped him a great deal. He said that he probably wasn't 100% physically but that he felt good enough to play.

"I question if anyone is 100% during an NBA year," said Bogut. "But I feel pretty good."

The Bucks were again without the injured Michael Redd (left knee) and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (left foot).

The Bulls also were short-handed as center Jerome James, forward Tyrus Thomas and guard Kirk Hinrich did not play because of injuries.

It didn't take Bogut long to get involved on the Bucks' first possession. He fed forward Ersan Ilyasova for a layup and the Bucks' first points of the game. Bogut later sank a short left-handed hook that helped the Bucks to an early 15-6 lead. Thomas replaced Bogut with 5:32 left and the Bucks holding that nine-point lead. Bogut had four rebounds. Bell played the entire first quarter and scored eight points as Milwaukee held a 22-17 lead.

A three-point play by Bell gave Milwaukee a 27-21 lead early in the second quarter. Bogut later went on an 8-0 run, scoring four straight times from the lane, to give Milwaukee a 37-25 lead midway through the second quarter, but forward Deng, who had 24 points and 20 rebounds in the previous game against Milwaukee, sparked a 14-4 Bulls run that had Milwaukee's lead down to two late in the quarter.

The Bucks led at halftime, 48-44.

Delfino sank 3 three-pointers and scored 12 points early in the third quarter as Milwaukee extended its lead to 65-52 with 7:41 left in the third quarter.

Copyright 2009, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved. (Note: This notice does not apply to those news items already copyrighted and received through wire services or other media.)

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