With Luol Deng (wrist) returning from a seven-game absence, the Chicago Bulls routed the Milwaukee Bucks 113-90 on Saturday night at the Bradley Center. The Bulls improved to 20-6 this season and 3-2 on their season-long, nine-game road trip.
The Bulls placed five players in double figures against Bucks coach Scott Skiles' squad. Derrick Rose dropped 26 points, 13 assists, seven rebounds and one block in 35 minutes of action, the point guard's second consecutive point-assist double-double. Deng retained his role as coach Tom Thibodeau's ironman, playing a game-high 41 minutes, and posted 21 points and nine rebounds while shooting 9-for-19 from the field and knocking down three three-pointers. Kyle Korver, who returned to the "Bench Mob" and is in the midst of his best stretch of the campaign, poured in 18 points on 7-for-13 shooting, including four three-pointers. Joakim Noah added 14 points and nine rebounds, taking advantage of all the attention his teammates garnered, while C.J. Watson had his third straight double-digit scoring game, with 13 to go along with six assists.
In a similar fashion to the Bulls' 105-102 victory over the New York Knicks on Thursday night, Rose played aggressive right out of the gate. He had 16 of his team's first 18 points, connecting on three shots from beyond the arc, and had complete control of the game from start to finish even when he wasn't looking to shoot. The Bulls led the Bucks 30-16 through one quarter of play and never looked back. Rose had five first-quarter assists and had eight by the time Chicago took a 67-43 lead at halftime.
The Bulls, who led by as many as 28 points, shot 53.3 percent from the field, piling up 31 assists on 48 baskets, and racked up 50 points in the paint to the Bucks' 42. They also outrebounded the Bucks 53-39 and held the home team to a paltry 38.9 percent shooting. Former Bull Drew Gooden led the Bucks with 24 points, but Brandon Jennings, who has received some All-Star Game consideration, had just eight points and missed 6-of-10 shots.
On this night, the Bucks clearly didn't perform like the team that last week came into the United Center and gave the Bulls a battle -- and the reigning NBA MVP made sure of that. He got to where ever he wanted to on the court and took over the Bucks and the Bradley Center, which obviously had a large contingent of Bulls fans that turned the arena into the United Center North. The Bulls know what they will get from Rose on a nightly basis, but they were definitely excited about the outing Deng was able to put forth playing through a torn ligament in his left wrist that was heavily wrapped.
Next up, the Bulls have their third day off this week Sunday before taking on the New Jersey Nets (8-17) on Monday night at Prudential Center.