MILWAUKEE (AP) -Andrew Bogut felt the Bulls stole a game from the Bucks earlier this year. The former No. 1 pick made sure it didn't happen again.
Bogut returned from an injury with 22 points, 15 rebounds and two big blocks in the closing minutes to rally Milwaukee to a 99-97 victory over Chicago on Monday night after squandering another big lead.
The Bulls overcame an 18-point second-half deficit in the teams' first meeting on Nov. 3 and won 83-81. In the rematch, Chicago rallied from a 14-point hole in the third quarter to take a two-point lead in the closing minutes.
But Brad Miller missed a shot at the buzzer that would've tied it after Derrick Rose, who had 17 of his 19 points in the second half, decided to pass up the final opportunity in Chicago's fifth straight loss.
``They stole one from us in Chicago and they had a chance to get back in it, too,' said Bogut, who fouled Miller in the first game for the game's final point. ``He missed it tonight, so the basketball gods looked out for us.'
Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said he called the pick-and-roll for Rose and that it was executed correctly.
``Brad got a good look. They double teamed Derrick. Derrick swung and he made the right basketball play,' the coach said. ``The percentages will go in your favor if you make the right play.'
But not this time.
Bogut was supposed to be out up to four weeks with a lower left leg strain. Instead, the 7-footer only missed six games and proved to be the spark Milwaukee (9-7) badly needed to snap a four-game losing streak. Bogut was slated to play about 20 minutes, but ended up with 35.
``I'll be sore tomorrow,' Bogut said. ``I'll get in the ice bath, do my recovery and I should be all right.'
Carlos Delfino and rookie Brandon Jennings added 15 points each, but Milwaukee failed to protect a big second-half lead for the second straight game.
John Salmons had 23 points, Luol Deng 22 points and 14 rebounds and Joakim Noah 16 points and 17 rebounds for the Bulls, who rallied after trailing 70-56 midway through the third.
The Bulls (6-9) had three days off after a blowout loss at Utah and finished their circus road trip 1-5 after learning they'll be without Kirk Hinrich for a week or two with a sprained left thumb.
Chicago took an 89-87 lead with just over three minutes to play before Jennings, Bogut and Charlie Bell, who finished with 16 points, all had layups to give the Bucks a 93-89 lead.
Bogut then blocked two shots, swatting Deng on a dunk and turning aside a layup attempt by Rose. Salmons missed a 3 that would've tied it with 27 seconds left and a free throw by Delfino gave Milwaukee a 96-92 lead.
``I wasn't expecting all that, but he came back strong,' Jennings said. ``It felt good to have him out there. He's a big help, as you can see, with the inside presence, it just opens up the game for everybody else.'
Salmons hit a 3, Jennings answered with two free throws and Salmons dunked to cut Milwaukee's lead to 98-97 before fouling Bell with 7.1 seconds to play.
Bell hit the second of two free throws to finish 3 of 7 from the line and Rose decided to pass to Miller, whose shot just grazed the front of the rim from 18 feet as time expired.
``It was well within my range. I felt comfortable, and I just didn't make it,' Miller said.
Why didn't Rose drive all the way to the hoop and try to draw contact?
``Part of me being the point guard was to pass that ball,' said Rose, who had seven assists. ``That's why I did it.'
NOTES: Milwaukee blew a 15-point second-half lead in a loss to Orlando on Saturday night. ... Bucks coach Scott Skiles said Jennings has had several tough shooting nights in a row, but said the rookie's output is more ``realistic' now after he made a splash by being the youngest person in NBA history to score at least 50 points when he scored 55 on Nov. 14 in a win over the Warriors. ... Chicago is 11-3 against Milwaukee since the start of the 2006-07 season.
The Associated Press News Service
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