MILWAUKEE—This is what it's like to be in the zone.
"I don't hear anything," Ben Gordon said. "I don't get tired. I feel like I can run for days. It's a good feeling. It motivates me. It makes me want to work harder."
And this is what it's like to see a team coalesce and grow in front of what no doubt are some disbelieving eyes.
The Bulls erased an 18-point fourth-quarter deficit Sunday afternoon to steal one at the Bradley Center from the Bucks and ruin Michael Redd's 52-point effort.
They prevailed 126-121 in overtime in large part because Gordon found his zone, scoring 24 of career-high 48 points after the third quarter.
"This just shows we can do anything we put our minds to," Gordon said.
Indeed, the Bulls' season high in points, sweep of the season series for the first time since 1997-98 and comeback made this road victory one of those chest-puffing experiences that transcend the typical NBA victory.
In short, it was a character triumph.
"Maybe earlier in the year we might've thrown in the towel," guard Adrian Griffin said. "You could see the guys have pride. And that's maturity. We knew we weren't playing well. So this is a good win for us. It's very gratifying."
Focusing solely on Gordon, of course, is shortsighted.
Luol Deng scored 27 and Kirk Hinrich added 23, both scoring in the 7-1 run that began overtime. Griffin helped hold Redd to two points in the final 9 minutes 17 seconds of regulation and hit a critical jumper in overtime.
And a junk-it-up lineup of Griffin, Gordon, Deng, Chris Duhon and Malik Allen kick-started a 29-10 fourth-quarter run that thrilled the vocal Bulls contingent in the crowd.
It culminated with Gordon's jumper with 11.6 seconds remaining in regulation, which gave the Bulls their first lead at 111-110.
"We went to the bench," coach Scott Skiles said. "Sometimes when you do that, it's a little risky but can change the dynamic of the game."
The Bucks forced overtime when Ruben Patterson split two free throws with 3.4 seconds remaining. Patterson had rebounded a Redd miss, and official Olandis Poole whistled Duhon for a reach-in foul.
Gordon scored seven seconds into overtime when he broke in for a layup. Griffin blocked a Charlie Bell shot and Deng scored at the other end. After Patterson again split two free throws, Hinrich drained a three-pointer.
The Bucks pulled to within 120-118 whenwho else?Redd swished a jumper over Ben Wallace, who had switched onto the sizzling guard, with 94 seconds left in overtime. But Griffin calmly sank a 13-foot jumper on a feed from Hinrich with 75 seconds remaining.
"Griff picked us up," Skiles said. "He did a nice job of chasing [Redd] around and being physical with him."
This after Redd had torched Deng and Hinrich to the tune of 44 points through the first three quarters. Redd scored 24 of the Bucks' final 29 points in the third, including a ridiculous 27-foot three-pointer with 35.4 seconds left over a zone defense he had forced the Bulls to play.
"It looked like he was throwing rocks in the ocean," Deng said.
The Bucks hit the century mark with a whopping 9:26 remaining in regulation before prideand Gordontook over.
After failing to score in the third quarter, Gordon made up for lost time with a 20-point fourth. Scoring all but two points on jumpers or free throws, Gordon looked locked on autopilot with his range.
"When you have it going like that, every shot you take isn't forced," Skiles said.
A questioner couldn't believe Gordon hadn't scored 48 points before, at any level, so he asked Gordon if he had done so three straight times.
"Did I say no in Spanish?" Gordon joked after the last attempt.
But then he turned serious and, fittingly, offered the last word on a stirring comeback.
"Everybody was out there real emotional," Gordon said. "We didn't feel like we were playing the way we were supposed to play. We didn't want to let this one slip away. We really fought hard for it."