Bucks can't stop Rodman-less Bulls


Rodman out through All-Star break

Box score | Game recap | Game flow

CHICAGO -- Michael Jordan and Toni Kukoc scored 24 points apiece as the Chicago Bulls didn't miss a beat despite the absence of Dennis Rodman, thumping the Milwaukee Bucks 100-73 on Friday.

Rodman was suspended Friday for at least 11 games because he kicked a cameraman during Wednesday's game at Minnesota.

"We played without Dennis before. You just have to go and suck it up, make the best of the situation," Jordan said. "Some of our young players are really going to have a chance to contribute now, getting some important minutes in crucial situations. It's just going to make us a better team."

Scottie Pippen added 20 points for the Bulls, who have won nine consecutive games and improved to a league-best 34-4. Chicago's defense did not allow more than 24 points in any quarter as the Bulls defeated Milwaukee for the third time this season.

Vin Baker scored a season-high 36 points and Glenn Robinson added 14 for Milwaukee, which fell back to .500 at 18-18. The Bucks fell to 3-8 against Central Division rivals.

"Our plan for me tonight was not to get a lot of isolation, but they dictated the pace of the game," said Baker, who passed 5,000 career points. "With everyone else being kind of cold, I had to go out and be very aggressive.

"We took too many outside shots and they were just too tough on us defensively. They were not going to be embarrassed without Rodman in the game."

CHICAGO used runs of 11-0 and 8-0 in the second quarter to open up a 22-point lead. After Baker had a three-point play to pull Milwaukee within 26-21 just 41 seconds into the second quarter, Randy Brown had a basket and Jason Caffey followed with a jumper and tip-in to push the lead to 32-21.

Bill Wennington converted a three-point play and Steve Kerr capped the run with a jumper at the 8:29 mark, giving the Bulls a 37-21 cushion.

Another basket by Baker made it 39-25, but Chicago reeled off eight unanswered points as Jordan and Luc Longley had baskets before Pippen added a dunk and a layup, opening up a 47-25 lead with 5:07 remaining.

Milwaukee pulled within 77-68 with 8:20 to play on a 12-footer by Robinson, but the Bulls responded by going on an 18-2 tear, fueled by seven points from Jordan. Pippen started the run with a turnaround jumper and Caffey ended it with a layup, giving Chicago a 95-70 lead with 3:15 left.

"The key was to come out and get out of the blocks quick and control the tempo of the game," Jordan said. "They're a young team and have been off for a while, and the next thing you know, it's hard for them to find their rhythm.

"The key in my mind was Scottie's play on Robinson. He shut him down and made him turn the ball over."

Jordan added 11 assists and seven rebounds for Chicago, which shot 56 percent (44 for 79) from the field. Pippen had seven steals as the Bulls scored 29 points off 19 turnovers.

Caffey, starting in place of Rodman, finished with seven points and one rebound in 27 minutes. Chicago also finished with a whopping 30-3 edge in fast-break points.

"I wasn't going to go out there and score 20 points and grab 15 rebounds. I just wanted to play a solid game," Caffey said. "I was kind of nervous when I went out there; I haven't started in a while. But once I got out there, I got the rhythm going up and down the court.

"It's obvious that Michael and Scottie stepped up their game tonight without Dennis. The only guy we couldn't guard was Vin Baker, and that's nothing new. Nobody guards Baker very well."

Rookie Ray Allen made just 3 of 12 shots and finished with nine points for Milwaukee, which shot 41 percent (30 for 74) overall. Robinson committed eight turnovers.

"The Bulls played very well, just like the world champions they are," Bucks coach Chris Ford said. "Vinny gave us everything he had, but no one else on our team was able to support his effort.

"I think Pippen and Jordan decided they were going to shut Robinson down, and they did a great job of it all night. That's why they never lose."

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