MILWAUKEE -- The Bucks started the fourth quarter with a flourish, trimming a 10-point deficit to one.
But then came a loud crash as Milwaukee missed its final 11 shots on the way to an 81-72 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Friday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
Former Bucks guard Mike Dunleavy scored six of the final eight points for Chicago (16-18) as it won its eighth consecutive game in Milwaukee.
The Bucks (7-28) had plenty of chances down the stretch but Brandon Knight missed a three-point try and was thwarted on two drives to the basket, and O.J. Mayo also missed a three.
Carlos Boozer had 19 points and 13 rebounds to pace the Bulls and Dunleavy added 18 points. Joakim Noah added eight points, 10 rebounds and seven assists and Taj Gibson had 12 points.
Mayo paced the Bucks with 16 points and Ersan Ilyasova and Luke Ridnour each scored 14. Knight had 12 but was just 5 for 21 from the field and 0 of 6 from three-point range.
A jumper by Knight cut the Bucks' deficit to 73-72 but after that Milwaukee could not hit a shot and grew increasingly frustrated. The Bulls scored the final eight points of the game for a 13-12 edge in the final quarter.
Dunleavy scored off a curl for a 75-72 Bulls lead, but Boozer missed two free throws.
Knight and Mayo missed potential tying three-pointers and Khris Middleton traveled before Dunleavy scored on a drive with 2:38 left for a 77-72 Chicago lead.
"I had a good look in the corner," Mayo said of his three attempt. "Khris drew two guys, kicked it to me, and I had a tremendous look, Me and Brandon were just trying to get to the rim, kind of force the whistle a little bit. Just couldn't get it in our favor, which happens sometimes."
Then misses by Ilyasova and Mayo preceded two Dunleavy free throws that put the Bulls ahead by seven with 1:16 remaining. Kirk Hinrich scored the Bulls' final basket.
The Bucks scored four more field goals than the Bulls (28-24) but were outscored at the free throw line, 27-9, and the Bulls missed as many free throws (12) as the Bucks attempted.
Milwaukee's front line was in foul trouble from the outset and center Larry Sanders eventually fouled out after scoring one point and grabbing nine rebounds in 23 minutes.
"We have to be smarter with our fouls," Bucks coach Larry Drew said. "The difference in free throws is the difference in the game.
"You put a team on the free throw line that amount of times, you can't expect good results at the end.
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