CHICAGO (AP) - A rare triple-double was all well and good for Joakim Noah. More important for him was this: the Bulls got another big win.
Noah had 13 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists for the first triple-double by a Bulls center in roughly 35 years, and Chicago pounded the Milwaukee Bucks 110-91 on Wednesday night.
``Obviously it's a very humbling accomplishment,' Noah said. ``But we're playing for more than that.'
Carlos Boozer scored 20 points to lead six Bulls players in double figures. Derrick Rose and Luol Deng each added 16, and Chicago simply ran away with this one. The Central Division leaders built an 11-point halftime lead and broke it open in the third quarter, a nice send-off for the All-Star break.
Ronnie Brewer scored 15 points as all five Bulls starters finished in double digits. Reserves Kyle Korver (11 points) and Taj Gibson (nine points, 10 rebounds) provided a spark as Chicago handed Milwaukee its sixth loss in seven games.
Brandon Jennings scored 20 to lead the Bucks, who never really had a chance in this one with Chicago shooting 54.4 percent from the field and dominating on the glass with a 49-29 rebounding edge.
``I'm not going to lie,' Jennings said. ``I'm frustrated. I want to win. We all want to win.'
This, however, was far from a winning effort for them.
Boozer hit 9 of his 12 shots.
Rose looked sharp again after saying the lower back pain that caused him to miss five recent games is gone. He followed up a 23-point effort against Atlanta on Monday with another strong showing.
And then there was Noah.
``He's just like a guard, where he's making great plays passing it to the corners,' Rose said.
How good was he? Consider this: Not since Artis Gilmore had 35 points, 15 rebounds and 11 blocks against Atlanta on Dec. 20, 1977, had a Bulls center delivered a triple-double.
For that, Noah credited Rose with one huge assist.
``The only reason I was able to do it was because they were trying to get the ball out of Derrick's hands,' Noah said.
With the Bucks trapping Rose, Noah has plenty of opportunities and posted a career high in assists. As he approached the triple-double in the third quarter, teammates kept reminding him.
``For a big man, he's great at making decisions coming down the floor,' Deng said. ``A lot of big men will get a little hesitant having the ball in their hand, but he's comfortable with it.'
Skiles said the Bucks were ``kind of in-between.'
``We weren't really bodying him up,' he said. ``We weren't jumping with him either. And he's got the ability to handle the ball, pass the ball. He always has. He hurt us tonight.'
Noah fired up the crowd twice in the final minute of the third quarter.
First, he dunked on Beno Udrih for a three-point play. Then, after two free throws by Jennings, he buried a corner jumper with about a second left to make it 93-75, sending a roar through the arena.
``It's unbelievable how things change from the New Jersey game to this game,' Noah said.
He had just six rebounds without a point or assist in a loss to the Nets on Saturday. He played better against Atlanta, grabbing 16 rebounds, and trumped that with what probably was the best all-around performance of his career.
``How many big men can get a triple-double?' Milwaukee's Ersan Ilyasova said.
Notes: The Bulls have won seven straight against Milwaukee. ... Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said veteran G Richard Hamilton ``is doing a lot more' and is ``taking on contact now,' but his return date remains up in the air. Hamilton has been limited to 11 games this season because of thigh and groin problems. ... Backup PG C.J. Watson missed his second straight game because of a mild concussion. ... Milwaukee's Stephen Jackson did not travel with the team because of a sore right hamstring, and Drew Gooden missed his fourth straight game because of a sprained right wrist.
The Associated Press News Service
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