Chicago Bulls vs. Milwaukee Bucks: Postgame Grades and Analysis for Chicago
So, how did it all go down?
With the red-hot Carlos Boozer out of the lineup, Taj Gibson stepped in to provide 14 points, nine rebounds and two blocks. He wasn't alone, as Joakim Noah tacked on 12 points, 12 rebounds and four assists.
This helped counter Samuel Dalembert's 14 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks for the Bucks.
The true star of the evening, however, was Jimmy Butler. Butler finished with 18 points, six rebounds and two steals on 8-of-12 shooting.
Between Butler and Robinson, the Bulls had all they needed to win this fierce battle. Fortunately, they weren't the only ones who chose to show up.
Find out who else made their name heard in the following slides.
Kirk Hinrich, Point Guard
Overall Grade: C+
Minutes Played: 33
6 points, 8 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 2-7 FG, 0-3 3PT
Kirk Hinrich dished out eight assists and helped to facilitate an offensive eruption from the Chicago Bulls. Just don't think for a moment that he was the best point guard on the floor.
That was his backup—Nate Robinson.
In what has become a common trend in 2012-13, Lil' Nate outplayed Hinrich. This didn't stop Tom Thibodeau from using Hinrich rather often, as he piled up 33 minutes.
In that time, Hinrich shot just 2-of-7 from the floor and committed four personal fouls. His inability to match Milwaukee's lateral quickness caught him out of position.
We know Hinrich is a better player than this performance will suggest. With that being said, who will argue with eight assists?
Richard Hamilton, Shooting Guard
Overall Grade: C-
Minutes Played: 17
10 points, 3 assists, 4-11 FG
Richard Hamilton took a beautiful feed along the baseline and dropped in a fading two-point jump shot.
That was the shining moment during an otherwise frustrating evening for Rip.
4-of-11 shooting and a minus-10 will do that for you.
With Jimmy Butler red-hot and Marco Belinelli providing a spark on offense, the Bulls seldom utilized Hamilton's services. This is not to say he will not be a key member down the line, but Wednesday night, he was more of a bonus.
A bonus that hurt more than it helped.
Don't expect a repeat performance.
Luol Deng, Small Forward
Overall Grade: B
Minutes Played: 40
12 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 block, 1 steal, 6-18 FG, 0-3 3PT
Normally, a player who goes 6-of-18 from the floor will see his grade take a dramatic dip. Those players don't usually finish with 13 rebounds and five assists.
It's becoming clear why Luol Deng is making his second consecutive All-Star Game appearance.
Deng worked his tail off on the offensive glass, coming up with big rebounds during the second half. Although he failed to convert it, Deng grabbed two offensive boards at the 3:05 mark during the fourth quarter.
This preceded Brandon Jennings' ejection and continued to build upon a tone that had been set early in the game.
The Bulls are a more physical team, and they will punish opponents with power. Deng played a major role in that truth Wednesday night against Milwaukee.
Taj Gibson, Power Forward
Overall Grade: A
Minutes Played: 34
14 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 1 steal
What can you say about Taj Gibson?
Matched up against one of the deepest interiors in the NBA, Gibson found a way to take control of this game.
From his explosive finishes in transition to his uncanny ability to muscle his way onto the offensive glass, Gibson was phenomenal. Even when foul calls wrongfully went Milwaukee's way, Gibson kept his head on straight.
His advantage was never more evident than when he pump faked Ersan Ilyasova so far into the air that Ersanity flipped over Gibson.
Gibson's shining moments came within two possessions of one another. After being found in transition for a monster slam, Gibson cleaned up the glass and threw down another finish.
This helped establish the interior for Chicago and create a win.
Joakim Noah, Center
Overall Grade: A
Minutes Played: 40
12 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block, 1 steal
It was yet another well-rounded evening from All-Star center Joakim Noah.
Noah was active early and often, crashing the glass and coming off of screens for finishes. Per usual, his greatest strength was his passing.
His ability to corral offensive rebounds and find Taj Gibson for easy flushes set the tone for this one.
Noah's signature moment came during the third quarter. After Kirk Hinrich missed a close field-goal attempt, Noah grabbed the rebound and put it up quick.
The shot put the Bulls up 10 and created an image that stuck in Milwaukee's head.
Noah knows how to dominate in ways that the stat sheet won't show. Fortunately, he also knows how to pad a box score rather well.
Another great performance by Noah.
Jimmy Butler, Sixth Man
Overall Grade: A+
Minutes Played: 27
18 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 8-12 FG, 1-2 3PT
Jimmy Butler continues to impress.
Revisiting his Marquette roots, Butler played as if he were still a Golden Eagle. Butler hit mid-range jump shots, got up for alley-oop finishes and played physical defense.
Butler continues to be the savior for Chicago.
Butler finished with 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the floor. He scored in a variety of ways and took it to the Bucks' quickness with his length and tenacity.
Butler threw down a beautiful alley-oop early and continued that pace with seven fourth-quarter points. His best score came on an offensive rebound to seal the game with just over one minute remaining.
Pure and utter brilliance from the former Marquette standout.
Overall Grade: A+
Average Plus/Minus: +16.5
Collective Stat Line
48 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 6 steals, 1 block
The Chicago Bulls may not have played a great deal of bench players, but the ones that were active were superb.
Nate Robinson led the way, scoring 24 points on 9-of-11 shooting. That includes eight points during the fourth quarter, including a late three to seal the W.
Robinson and Jimmy Butler share "player of the game" honors.
Marco Belinelli chipped in eight points of his own to help secure this win.
During the fourth quarter, the bench scored 17 of the Bulls' 25 points. No matter which way you cut it, the reserves were superb.
A game ball for all of them.