Chicago needed someone to step up on a night when two starters, Derrick Rose and Mike Dunleavy, were not in the lineup. Rose had soreness in his left knee, and Dunleavy missed his 5th game with an injured ankle.
The Bulls had been shooting in the 36% range the last two games which resulted in a two game losing streak.
Gasol had a Jordan-like game. “He wasn’t going to let us lose tonight,” coach Tom Thibodeau said.
Gasol went 17-30 and made 12-13 free-throw attempts. He had 28 points at the half.
“I give a lot of credit to my teammates.” Gasol said. They made a lot of plays and were looking for me a lot of times.”
Chicago would have had an abysmal shooting night, if not for Gasol’s great game. They shot 39.8% from the floor. Kirk Hinrich had 16 points in a sold effort. Jimmy Butler had a strong night, nearly making a triple double with 9 points, 10 assists, and 8 rebounds. Butler knows when and where to fill in the gaps and is being touted as possibly the most improved player in the league.
Milwaukee kept the pressure on Chicago but the Bulls’ defense stood firm and had a +14 advantage in rebounds. The Bulls were 21-24 from the charity stripe which helped secure the victory.
Brandon Knight led the Bucks with 20 points, Jared Dudley had 15 and O.J Mayo chipped in with 12.
The win give the Bulls a 10-2 record in its last 12 home games. This one was a special for Gasol who continues to impress almost every game. He now has 20 double/doubles in the season.