Mike Dunleavy’s three-point launch over Milwaukee’s John Henson banked in with 5.8 seconds and capped a thrilling fourth-quarter comeback for the Bulls and helped avoid a second season-high losing streak of four as they won 91-90.
The win was also the first time in four games that the Bulls (9-12) scored over 80 points.
"He's so long so if I would have shot my normal shot, he might have got a piece of it," Dunleavy said. "So basically what I'm saying is, I took a bad shot and it went in."
Joakim Noah blocked O.J. Mayo’s desperation runner as the buzzer concluded to preserve the win after the Bulls were down as much as 11 in the final frame.
It was just one play from the big man who had his best game of the season with a season high combo of points and rebounds with 21 and 18. He also dished out five assists, had three steals and three blocks as each starter finished in double figures in scoring. Jimmy Butler returned after an 11-game absence to finish with 16 points and three steals in 36 minutes of action.
According to ESPNChicago, Butler said the sore toe that kept him out of the lineup was stepped on by Mayo during the game and he hoped he would be able to play on Saturday vs. the Toronto Raptors.
Coach Tom Thibodeau referred to Noah as a “monster” but was very complimentary of the team’s consistent fight.
“We showed a lot of toughness to keep battling,” Thibodeau told reporters. “That’s the thing about this team. There’s no quit in them. They’re going to keep fighting.”
Things started well for the Bulls, who jumped on the Bucks early, but surrendered 33 points in the second quarter to go down 51-47 at the half. They got down as many as 10 in the third period as the offense sputtered.
The Bucks took a 81-70 lead in the fourth after a pair of Giannis Antetokounmpo free throws before the Bulls outscored them 18-9 in 7:12 of play.
With 29 seconds remaining, the score tied at 88 and only a defensive stop needed to get possession, Milwaukee’s right-handed Khris Middleton lofted a highly contested lefty 12-footer over Dunleavy that found the bottom off the net.
After a 20 second time out, Butler would travel on the next possession with 19 seconds remaining. That left the Bucks only needing to inbound the ball and wait to be fouled, except Noah got his hands on the ball after Gary Neal received it and braced to be fouled, setting up a jump-ball in which Noah won and allowed Dunleavy to get some pay back against a team he spent the previous two seasons with..
“This is huge,” Dunleavy told reporters. “After all the tough stuff that has gone on, we felt like we deserved this one. If you’re resilient, eventually things go your way.”
The newly signed D.J. Augustine also made his debut for the Bulls, going scoreless missing all of his three shot attempts in 12 minutes of play.