Bulls look to stay strong in new year, host Bucks

11:49 AM, Jan 9, 2013   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - The Chicago Bulls hope to remain undefeated in 2013 as they play host on Wednesday night to the new-look Milwaukee Bucks.

The Bulls lost three of their final four games in December, but have opened up this month with three straight wins, the club's longest winning streak since another three-game burst from Dec. 5-8. Chicago has yet to win four games in a row this season.

Another solid effort from Carlos Boozer helped pace the Bulls to a 118-92 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday. The forward notched a game-high 24 points and ripped down 11 rebounds.

"We had a tough last couple of weeks of 2012, and it's a new year. We've got a couple of new resolutions and one is to get a couple of more wins," said Boozer.

Over his last five games, Boozer is averaging 23.2 points and 12.0 rebounds per game. Chicago is 11-1 when both Boozer and Joakim Noah notch a double- double. Noah had 11 points and 11 rebounds in Monday's win.

Luol Deng added 19 points, seven assists, five rebounds and four steals, while Taj Gibson came off the bench to hit eight of his nine shots for 18 points.

Overall, the Bulls hit a season high-tying 10 3-pointers and shot a season- high .714 from long range in the win.

"We're just trying to find our niche. We're just trying to take care of the ball," said Gibson, who had seven rebounds. "Trying to get back to rebounding the ball well. Carlos has been playing phenomenal. We are getting a lot of minutes for a lot of guys, and whenever someone is called to step up, we have guys capable of doing it."

The Bucks, meanwhile, will play their second game since mutually agreeing to part ways with head coach Scott Skiles on Monday.

Jim Boylan took over on an interim basis and guided Milwaukee to a 108-99 triumph over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night.

Brandon Jennings had 29 points and nine assists, hitting 5-of-7 from behind the arc to pace seven Bucks players in double figures as the club snapped a four-game slide.

"It was a nice win," Boylan remarked. "It's great to come out and, first of all, to break the losing streak we had going, but to take over, have a coaching change, come out and get the first win, is great."

Larry Sanders totaled 10 points, eight rebounds and six blocks, his fourth straight game with at least four rejections. That is the longest such streak for a Milwaukee player since Elmore Smith had four consecutive games with at least four blocks from Nov. 21-29, 1975.

Ersan Ilyasova and John Henson each had 12 points and Henson added 11 rebounds. He is averaging 12.0 boards over his last four games.

The Bucks snapped a nine-game losing streak to the Bulls with a 93-92 win in Chicago on Nov. 26. That gave the clubs a split of a home-and-home set after the Bulls won in Milwaukee two days earlier.

Ilyasova had 18 points in the win as the Bucks stormed back from 27 points down late in the third to pick up just their second victory in their last 14 trips to Chicago.

The Bulls have still won 20 of the past 26 encounters overall.

The Sports Network

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