Chicago defeated the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday to move 2 1/2
games ahead of the fifth-place Brooklyn Nets in the Eastern
Conference playoff race. The Bulls are tied with Toronto for third
in the East and a victory over the Bucks would strengthen their grip
on landing one of the top four seeds. Milwaukee has lost three
straight games, failing to reach 80 points in two of the defeats.
The Bucks lost 96-77 to the Miami Heat on Wednesday and never once
led in the game, marking the 11th time this season that has
TV: 8 p.m. ET, WCIU (Chicago), FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee)
ABOUT THE BUCKS (14-61): Milwaukee still possesses the worst record
in the NBA despite the Philadelphia 76ers recently matching the
all-time league record of 26 consecutive losses. Coach Larry Drew
doesn't want to see players merely playing out the string and is
continuing to push and prod the group. "As we wind this thing down
with seven games to go, the thing I want is to see them compete,"
Drew told reporters. "We're dealing with adverse times. This is
really a good time to see what guys are truly made of."
ABOUT THE BULLS (43-32): Point guard D.J. Augustin continues to
soften the loss of Derrick Rose and had 23 points in the victory
over the Hawks. The solid showing came three days after he tallied a
career-high 33 points against Boston and Chicago is 35-20 since he
joined the club. "D-Rose is the face of this team," Augustin told
reporters. "I'm just trying to come in, just trying to help out, do
whatever I can do to help us win and go forward in the playoffs."
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Chicago has won two of this season's three meetings as Milwaukee
posted a 78-74 road victory on Dec. 10.
Bulls C Joakim Noah recorded his 40th double-double of the
campaign in the win over the Hawks.
Milwaukee G Brandon Knight is shooting just 30.2 percent from the
field against Chicago this season.
PREDICTION: Bulls 89, Bucks 75
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