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updated: 4/5/2014 12:05 AM

Gibson sums it up: A win is a win

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  • The Bulls' Joakim Noah fires an outlet pass under pressure from Zaza Pachulia of the Bucks on Friday night at the United Center.

    The Bulls' Joakim Noah fires an outlet pass under pressure from Zaza Pachulia of the Bucks on Friday night at the United Center.
    Associated Press


There are several ways to describe the Bulls' 102-90 victory over Milwaukee on Friday -- lackluster, uninspiring, doing the minimum necessary to knock off the league's worst team.

The Bulls got off to a quick start and finished the job against the Bucks. But they shot just 36.9 percent from the field and let a 22-point lead slip to down to 8 during a six-minute span of the fourth quarter.

"Just because they're the worst team in the league doesn't mean nothing, really," Taj Gibson said. "It's tough because you're playing against guys that are fighting for their jobs, fighting for their livelihood. They're going to play hard. We're happy with the win. We understand not every win is going to be perfect, but a win is a win."

Yes, they all count the same in the standings. But the Bulls (44-32) have a chance to record a more meaningful win on Saturday at Washington. It's a road game against a potential first-round playoff opponent and a team they haven't beaten this season.

If the season ended Friday, the Bulls be the No. 4 seed and would match up with Brooklyn in the first round. They are technically tied with Toronto for the third slot, but the Raptors would win the tiebreaker on the basis of being a division champion.

Washington is currently in sixth place, although it's not out of the question for the Wizards to catch Brooklyn for fifth or slide past Charlotte into seventh.

"Tomorrow's a test," Jimmy Butler said in the locker room. "A road game, another playoff team, but I think we can get it done."

The Bulls are 0-2 against Washington this season, losing twice in a span of five days in January.

"That's a long time ago," said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. "We were still working our way through things. They were working their way through things. We know how good they are."

Even though the Wizards don't have much playoff experience, they have some dangerous young talent, particularly with guards John Wall and Bradley Beal.

"I think those two games, they really just jumped on us," Gibson said. "We didn't really know too much about our opponent like we should have. How Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster and those guys are really hot shooters. They had Nene, they just got (center Marcin) Gortat. We didn't know who we were up against.

"That team now, they're playing with a lot of inspiration. We just have to match that intensity tomorrow."

Against Milwaukee, the Bulls' best trait was balance. They had seven players score in double figures, led by Butler and Kirk Hinrich with 17 points each. D.J. Augustin and Carlos Boozer had 14 each, Gibson finished with 13, Mike Dunleavy 12 and Joakim Noah 11.

"I loved the balance of the team," Thibodeau said. "The shot distribution was pretty even and I think that's important for us."

Milwaukee (14-62) had just eight healthy players. The Bucks were missing O.J. Mayo, Ersan Ilyasova and Ekpe Udoh, among others. Guard Brandon Knight scored 22 points and power forward Jeff Adrien had a career-high 21.

This result snapped a string of 8 straight wins by the visiting team in the series. Milwaukee had won the last three at the United Center.

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