Rapid Reaction: Bulls 90, Bucks 77

CHICAGO. -- Let's take a quick look at how the Chicago Bulls pulled out a 90-77 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night at the United Center.

How it happened: The Bulls raced out to a 12-point lead after the first quarter. After that, they didn't do much racing at all ... until the very end. Luol Deng stepped up from the outset scoring 24 points and giving Derrick Rose some relief in the process. Rose didn't have his best shooting night of the year (18 points, 7-for-17 from the floor) but he made up for it with 12 assists, 6 rebounds and a big 3-pointer down the stretch. Carlos Boozer added 24 points of his own.

What it means: The Bulls continue to win ugly. The on-going problem for Tom Thibodeau's team is that they go through major stretches during which energy is lacking. It happened again during the second and third quarters.To the Bulls' credit, they turned up the energy late in the game and shut the door on a short-handed Milwaukee team. It's worth repeating: Against mediocre or bad teams, the Bulls can usually overcome the lethargy. Against good teams, that pattern is simply not going to fly.

Stats of the night: The Bucks had 18 second-chance points to the Bulls' 2. The Bucks had 51 rebounds to the Bulls' 42.

What's next: The Bulls have two days off before a strange home back to back on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. After playing on both Thanksgiving and Christmas, the players can't be particularly happy with the schedule maker for this one. Luckily for the Bulls, the two games are against the New Jersey Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers -- two very winnable games.