DeRozan lifts Bulls past Bucks despite Giannis' monster game

In theory, the Bulls were in an advantageous position Wednesday with the Milwaukee Bucks missing two of their stars, Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton.

What it actually meant was more Giannis Antetokounmpo all the time. He landed a couple hundred body blows during the course of 53 minutes, but the Bulls pulled off a late comeback in regulation and beat the Bucks for the second time this season, 119-113 in overtime.

"Even when stuff got rough for us, we stuck with it, kept fighting to the last second," said DeMar DeRozan, who scored the Bulls' final 8 points. "We didn't get rattled. It was (heck) trying to slow Giannis down, but we kept sticking with it."

After Milwaukee scored the first 4 points of overtime, the Bulls dug in on defense and took a 1-point lead on a Nikola Vucevic 3-pointer with 1:28 left. After another stop, DeRozan hit a pair of free throws before Bobby Portis tied it with a 3-pointer with 39.9 seconds remaining.

Working quickly to try to get the final possession, DeRozan did what he does best, bury a 13-foot jumper to put the Bulls ahead. After an Antetokounmpo miss, DeRozan added 4 free throws to put the game away.

The Bulls trailed by 11 with a little more than two minutes remaining in regulation, but pulled off an unlikely 13-2 run to force overtime. The biggest play was DeRozan jumping in front of Grayson Allen to steal an inbound pass. He tightroped the sideline and hit a streaking Ayo Dosunmu, who dunked home the tying basket with 7.8 seconds on the clock while Antetokounmpo gave chase.

Antetokounmpo piled up 45 points, 22 rebounds and 7 assists at the United Center. That's a little short of Luka Doncic's 60-21-10 triple-double against the Knicks on Tuesday, but that game went to overtime.

DeRozan answered with 42 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and an unlikely 2 blocked shots. Zach LaVine finished with 24 points, while Vucevic had 15 points and 14 rebounds.

The Bulls are now 5-1 against the top three teams in the East, but just lost to Houston, the worst team in the West, on Monday.

"I don't know. It's kind of like when you're running fast, you run faster if a dog starts chasing you," DeRozan said when asked about the Bucks bringing out the Bulls' best. "Kind of like that, that type of feeling."

Antetokounmpo is tough to handle for any team, let alone the Bulls and their relatively small front line. The Greek Freak's goal most every time he touches the ball is to aggressively head to the basket, create as much contact as he can, and dare defenders to stand their ground to draw an offensive foul. He ended up going 11 of 18 from the foul line.

The Bulls had more issues with Allen during the third quarter. Allen caught a slight shove from Patrick Williams and stumbled into DeRozan, who was standing nearby in defensive position. Allen was apparently so off-balance, he struck DeRozan with an elbow to the back of the head and knocked him to the floor.

DeRozan jumped up and immediately walked toward Allen with some angry words. Antetokounmpo was right there and kept DeRozan out of harm's way.

DeRozan joked in the locker room he wouldn't have been mad if it was Bojan Marjanovic that hit him, but Allen comes with a well-earned reputation for cheap shots. But DeRozan said the play didn't give him extra motivation.

"No man can extra motivate me from what I already is. He didn't do nothing for me," he said. "I didn't know if it was on purpose or what happened. I just felt an excessive hit."

Allen will forever be unpopular among Bulls fans for his hard foul against Alex Caruso last season, which resulted in a broken wrist and six weeks on the sideline for Caruso.

Referees watched the replays for several minutes and decided the only penalty was a foul on Williams. Donovan called a timeout after Allen shot his first free throw to discuss the decision with referee Bill Kennedy.

Javonte Green returned after missing the past five games with right knee soreness and played 16 minutes. Caruso missed his third straight game with a right shoulder sprain.

Coby White suffered a left leg injury during his six-minute stint in the first half and did not return.

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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Bulls' DeMar DeRozan (11) scores against Milwaukee Bucks' Brook Lopez (11) during the second half. Associated Press
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