102 - 117 Final
  for this game

Bulls overtake Bucks with impressive victory

Mar 7, 2009 - 5:24 AM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- For one day, at least, the Chicago Bulls are in possession of a playoff spot.

With the eighth postseason spot in the Eastern Conference still up for grabs, the Bulls made significant headway toward securing it Friday night as they overcame one of their top competitors, the Milwaukee Bucks, in a 117-102 triumph.

Coming into the night, the two clubs were separated my mere percentage points, both six games under the .500 mark. But Chicago was the first to step on the gas in this one, taking control largely on the back of sharpshooting Ben Gordon.

"This game was important," Gordon said. "We have to play our remaining 19 games like they are all playoff games, and play them like we did tonight."

With the Bucks holding a one-point lead early in the second quarter, Gordon went on a 10-0 run all by himself, burying a pair of 3-pointers back-to-back sandwiched between another bucket and a pair of free throws.

"Hopefully this will give us the momentum we need in upcoming games," Gordon said. "We have to continue to push the ball up the floor and knock down shots and make good things happen."

The Bucks didn't threaten again until midway through the second half, bridging the third and fourth quarters with an 13-4 run to cut their deficit to just three. Once again, it was Gordon who provided the counterpoint, connecting on a long jumper.

After Milwaukee's timeout, a pair of new acquisitions - John Salmons and Brad Miller - drained two buckets apiece and Gordon followed with a three-point play to extend the lead to 100-90. That was more than enough cushion for the Bulls, who have now won three of four.

"With Tim Thomas out there and Brad Miller, we are trying to open up the court for (point guard Derrick Rose)," Chicago coach Vinny Del Negro said. "I liked Derrick's pace on the pick-and-rolls and he attacked the basket when it was open."

Gordon scored 34 points on 10-of-19 shooting, including 4-of-6 from the arc. He added 10-of-11 from the foul line. Rose had one of his best offensive performances of his rookie campaign, finishing with 27 points and six assists, while Joakim Noah grabbed 13 boards.

"This win is like a double win, when you beat the team in front of you that you are trying to catch," Miller said. "We played hard from the start and the effort showed, now we have to take it on the road."

The Bucks, meanwhile, have dropped three straight. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Charlie Villanueva contributed double-doubles while Richard Jefferson paced the club with 27 points.

"Luckily there are only 17 games left," Jefferson said. "We will keep fighting until the end. We know places one through eight will change before the season is over."