Villanueva leads Bucks over Bulls
Milwaukee, WI (Sports Network) - Charlie Villanueva scored 23 points and hauled in 10 rebounds to lead the Milwaukee Bucks in a 97-90 victory over the Chicago Bulls.
Richard Jefferson added 21 points for the Bucks, who snapped a season-long four-game skid. Luke Ridnour chipped in 12 points and 10 assists in the win. Dan Gadzuric logged 11 points and 14 boards.
"Obviously we had a very good first half," said Bucks head coach Scott Skiles. "We came out in the third, and we were a little flat again, especially on the defensive end. We were able to hold them off, and we had a lot of guys contribute."
Ben Gordon scored 22 points and Luol Deng 21 for the Bulls, who have dropped three of their last four games. Derrick Rose ended with 18 points, nine helpers and four steals.
"Our defense just didn't get the stops we needed to," Deng said. "We fought our way back, but if there was a big play or a big basket it wasn't from us. We almost felt like a few stops could have turned the game around, but a couple big plays from them really changed that."
Jefferson, Luc Mbah a Moute and Villanueva all drained buckets to open the fourth quarter to give the Bucks an 82-72 lead with 9:15 left.
Rose interjected with a three-point play, but Villanueva rattled off seven straight points to make it 89-75 just prior to the midway point of the fourth.
"I know (Villanueva) is going to get back to his regular shooting percentage," Skiles said. "He's going to be able to make shots and move around well."
Rose's two free throws capped an 11-2 Bulls run that brought the visitors within 93-88 with 1:56 showing on the clock, but the Bulls were unable to get any closer than five points down the stretch.
The Bulls led 20-19 after the first quarter but fell behind, 54-42, at the intermission.
Down by 15 midway through the third stanza, the Bulls used a 14-2 run to get back into the contest. Deng's three-pointer sparked the run and Gordon scored the rest of the points to make it 71-68 with just under two minutes left in the frame.
"In the third quarter, we were able to bring it to within (three) points, but we couldn't maintain the momentum," Gordon said. "We fought hard but dug ourselves into too big of a hole at the beginning. We made our run, we just weren't able to sustain it."
Chicago trailed 76-72 heading into the final 12 minutes.