MILWAUKEE -- Former Marquette star Jimmy Butler calls the Bradley Center "another home."
That pretty much goes for all the Chicago Bulls, who won, 81-72, on Friday night before a pro-Chicago crowd.
Of course it's not that hard to ransack a largely anonymous team that entered the game 7-27.
The Bulls snatched a victory Dec. 13 on Mike Dunleavy's banked-in 3-pointer, but they did it more conventionally this time, taking command in the third quarter with a Joakim Noah slam and Butler 3.
And then they hung on in the fourth despite some horrid shooting -- 4 of 16 in the frame. Yes, the Bulls made four baskets in the game's final 12 minutes.
"You guys are into aesthetics," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "I'm into wins."
Asked about that, Butler said: "As long as we win, that's what this team is all about. We don't care about stats or none of that."
The Bulls benefited from a huge discrepancy in foul shots. They hit 27 of 39 from the line (including a Carlos Boozer airball), while Milwaukee took advantage on 9 of 12 tries.
Boozer did lead the Bulls with 19 points and 13 rebounds, and Dunleavy scored 18.
Noah, playing with an illness, had eight points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
"He has been under the weather and almost had a triple-double," Thibodeau said.
Butler got shaken up in the third quarter after appearing to take a knee to his left thigh. He had to be helped off the floor but returned for the fourth quarter.
Asked how painful it was, Butler stubbornly called it a 1 on a 1-10 pain-o-meter: "I'm tough."
That's similar to Taj Gibson, who injured his right wrist in the first quarter and winced in pain. But he returned in the second.
Also notable Friday night was a mini-scrap under the basket involving Boozer and Larry Sanders. The incident left Boozer laughing and Sanders steaming as the Bucks' ace defender got hit with a technical.
Game Two of the post-Luol Deng era ended like the first one, a five-point home victory over the Suns.
Asked when he will know that everyone has "gotten over" the deal, the Bulls coach replied: "All that stuff, that's the nature of the league. You're always going to be dealing with injuries and trades. You have to lock into the guys who are here. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the group we do have? If we do that, we will be fine."
Noah again declined to offer his thoughts on the Deng deal -- after the shootaround, before the game and after the victory, saying "No thank you" to a reporter's request for an interview. He said he would talk about it Saturday.
Thibodeau, asked what Derrick Rose thought of the trade, didn't really say.
"Derrick's good," Thibodeau said. "He's locked into his rehab. He's dealing with things as he should. We talk about our team, in general, all the time. He's good."
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