Bucks Beat Bulls In Opener

Yi Jianlian made his debut for the Bucks, but fellow rookie Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls looked more like a polished pro in Milwaukee's 93-to-88 exhibition victory in La Crosse tonight.

Noah led Florida to back-to-back titles in college and was just as intense as he had been in his final game with the Gators when he entered late in the first quarter. The ninth pick of the draft opened with a slam and blocked Andrew Bogut's shot on the ensuing possession.

Noah finished with six points, four rebounds, four assists, a steal and a block in 23 minutes.

Yi, who fouled out in 16 minutes, came in with 59 seconds left to play in the first quarter to a raucous ovation and chants of "EE!" He altered a shot by Thomas Gardner, who later dunked over him, but he struggled to defend the energetic Noah.

Yi, the 6-foot-11 power forward selected sixth, looked overmatched in his four minutes of play in the first half and picked up three quick fouls, the last for an illegal screen that sent him to the bench for a counseling session by Desmond Mason.

In the second half, Yi hit a 9-foot jumper and scored four points, but didn't have a rebound or an assist. Too often he looked tentative on offense, such as when he made a nice steal and had only Noah to beat. Instead of going to the basket strong, he neither hit the shot nor drew a foul.

Noah, meanwhile, heard his own name chanted among the hundreds of Bulls fans in the sellout crowd of 6,118 at the former CBA venue, the first time the Bucks had played there in eight years.

Bogut scored 14 points for the Bucks, Charlie Bell 13 and Royal Ivey 10. Chicago got 13 from Andres Nocioni and 10 apiece from Luol Deng, Ben Wallace and rookie Aaron Gray.


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