Henson helps Bucks rally past Bulls, 78-74

John Henson cracked a smile as he headed down the court after

his desperate turnaround splashed through the net.

It was that kind of night for Milwaukee.

Henson had 25 points, 14 rebounds and six blocked shots, and the

Bucks beat the Chicago Bulls 78-74 on Tuesday in a matchup of

slumping teams racked by injuries.

”We just kept fighting,” Henson said. ”Man, we just kept

fighting. As a young team, a scrappy team out here, that’s what we

got to do.”

Brandon Knight added 19 points and 10 boards for Milwaukee,

which had dropped three of four. O.J. Mayo was just 2 for 12 from

the field, but had seven assists and made a couple of big plays in

the fourth quarter.

Milwaukee only used nine players due to injuries, and Miroslav

Raduljica logged all of 83 seconds. Chicago went with an eight-man

rotation after Joakim Noah was sidelined by a bruised right

thigh.

”It doesn’t matter,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said.

”Everyone who’s called upon is capable of doing their job.

Eighteen turnovers hurt us. In the first half we had great ball

movement with 14 assists. In the second half, we have to do

better.”

Mike Dunleavy scored 18 of his 24 points in the second quarter,

but the Bulls struggled on offense in the latter part of their

fourth loss in five games. Carlos Boozer, the only starter from the

season opener at Miami, had 21 points and 12 rebounds.

”This is a winnable game,” point guard Kirk Hinrich said.

”Just couldn’t play well enough to do it.”

The Bucks (5-16) trailed by seven at halftime, but cut the

deficit to two heading to the fourth quarter, and then opened the

final period with a 10-2 run. Henson’s dunk over Tony Snell off a

pass from Mayo made it 65-59 with 8:30 to go.

Chicago (8-11) had a chance after Dunleavy made a 3 to trim

Milwaukee’s lead to 73-72 with 1:59 remaining. But Henson responded

with a long turnaround jumper as the shot clock expired, prompting

the wide grin as he headed back to play defense.

”I guess the basketball gods were with us tonight,” Bucks

coach Larry Drew said. ”It was a hope and a prayer. It went

in.”

Ekpe Udoh then blocked Snell’s 3-point attempt, and the Bucks

held on for their third road win of the season.

Thibodeau said Noah aggravated the injury during the morning

shootaround. He said he thinks the big man will be able to travel

to New York for Wednesday’s game against the Knicks.

Luol Deng (left calf tightness) and Jimmy Butler (sprained right

big toe) were ruled out earlier in the day. Derrick Rose is likely

out for the season after right knee surgery.

”They’re missing guys. We’re missing guys,” Knight said. ”But

at the end of the day, that’s how it’s going to be (in) NBA

basketball. You’re never going to have all your guys, more than

likely.”

It was the same problem on the other side for Milwaukee, which

was without reserve guard Gary Neal due to plantar fasciitis in his

left foot. Neal, who played seven minutes in the Bucks’ 90-82 loss

to Brooklyn on Saturday, did not make the trip to Chicago.

Center Zaza Pachulia broke his right foot in last week’s 105-98

loss to Detroit, and the Bucks also are playing without injured

starters Larry Sanders (thumb) and Caron Butler (knee).

All those injuries took a toll on both teams, especially early

on. The Bulls shot 25 percent (6 for 24) in the first quarter, and

the Bucks struggled to 33 percent (7 for 21) in the second

quarter.

Dunleavy helped Chicago find its stride after the sloppy start.

He had 10 points in a 12-2 spurt that gave Chicago a 40-31 lead

with 2:44 left in the first half.

Dunleavy was 7 for 7 from the field and 3 for 4 at the line in

the second quarter. Snell had nine first-half points as the Bulls

carried a 42-35 lead into the break.

”The main thing is we have to play hard and compete and grind

it out,” Dunleavy said. ”You can do that whether Joakim Noah or

Luol Deng or Derrick Rose is in the lineup or not. That’s a mindset

thing. That’s not a skill thing.”

NOTES: It was the first game of the season between the teams.

They split four games last season, with the two wins for each side

coming on the road. … Bulls rookie Erik Murphy made a jumper in

the first quarter for his first NBA basket. He played 10 minutes

after playing just 15 minutes all season coming into the night.

Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap