Bulls wake up in third quarter to beat Bucks and stay undefeated against Central teams

MILWAUKEE—With Joakim Noah back in the lineup, the Bulls are starting to feel pretty good about themselves.Fueled by Noah’s 17 rebounds and Luol Deng’s 19 points, the Bulls pulled away from the Milwaukee Bucks for an 83-75 win on Saturday night.The Bulls have won six of seven to improve to 15-4 since Jan. 14, putting pressure on Boston and Miami at the top of the Eastern Conference. Derrick Rose added 17 points for the Bulls, who beat the Heat 93-89 on Thursday night.It was Noah’s third game back following right thumb surgery. Noah said he is starting to feel more comfortable on the court, but knows he can play better.Luc Richard Mbah a Moute scored 16 points and John Salmons added 14 points for the Bucks.Earl Boykins entered the game for the first time in the fourth quarter and scored Milwaukee’s first 10 points of the period. Salmons hit a 3-pointer to trim the Bulls’ lead to 78-72 with 3:56 remaining.Rose then drove the lane and hit a wide-open Kyle Korver, who drained a 3-pointer. After Andrew Bogut hit one free throw for the Bucks, Korver made another jumper with 2:21 remaining to put the game away. Carlos Boozer added 13 points for the Bulls, who shook off a slow start to take the opener of an important five-game road trip.The Bulls grabbed control midway through the third quarter. Trailing by one, they put together a 19-5 run to grab a 66-53 lead on Deng’s reverse layup with 1:27 remaining. Boozer had eight points in the surge.Milwaukee made just eight of 23 shots in the third.Bucks coach Scott Skiles was impressed with Noah’s energy and his nine offensive rebounds in the first half.

NOTES—Bucks F Ersan Ilyasova missed the game due to a concussion he suffered in a collision in practice on Friday with center Jon Brockman. He is listed as day to day…..The Bucks recalled rookie F Larry Sanders from Fort Wayne of the NBA Development League…..The Bulls improved to 12-0 against Central Division teams.