The Milwaukee Bucks suffered their first loss of the 2012 preseason at the hands of the Bulls on Monday at the United Center. Previously two-and-zero, the Bucks entered their toughest contest to date having won games against both Cleveland and Detroit by near twenty-point margins. Their southern-rivals, however, put a stop to the hopeful beginning, earning a 100-94 win by the end of the night.
The Bulls dominated nearly every facet of Monday's match-up, not once falling behind to the Bucks, who allowed Chicago's high-powered offense ample opportunity for easy points. The defense also failed to force many turnovers, managing just fourteen all game. And, despite the just six-point deficit at the end of play, the Bucks offense, which scored 108 against Detroit just days earlier, was lackluster for three quarters of the game.
Skiles Not Happy With Performance
Scott Skiles spared no harsh words in his post-game conference with the media, admitting that he was unhappy with his team's play all-around. The coach was not completely dismissive, however, complimenting the efforts by five reserve players in the fourth quarter to bring the Bucks back within one possession with just under three minutes left. Beno Udrih, Drew Gooden, Marquis Daniels, Samuel Dalembert, and Mike Dunleavy were all part of that group, Dalembert putting up his first double-double of the year, and Dunleavy a co-team-high thirteen points.
Starts rose from the bench for both teams during the night, as Bulls backup point guard Nate Robinson led his team with twenty-four points and thirteen assists. He and fellow guard Richard Hamilton combined for forty-seven points on the night, with Joakim Noah dolling out another sixteen for Chicago.
While the loss is a set back for a Bucks team that has high hopes to make the playoffs this year, the performance of the five reserves in the fourth is a good sign that the team's recent injury troubles may not be too dire.
Rookie second-round pick Doron Lamb went out with a torn ligament before camp this off season, joining starting forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who is still recovering from tendon surgery. Epke Udoh, one the team's most productive starters last season, is also out for an extended period.