Preview: Bulls at Bucks
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[January 10, 2014]
Even as management seems to be
looking to the future, the Chicago Bulls have won three straight games
as they head to Milwaukee to take on the woeful Bucks. The Bulls edged
Phoenix 92-87 on Tuesday in their first game since trading leading
scorer Luol Deng to Cleveland, and they're after a season-high third
straight road win. The Bucks, who have lost three straight and 11 of 13,
own the NBA's worst record by a wide margin.
Chicago is sixth in the weak Eastern Conference but hardly seems
to have its sights set on the playoffs — at least not this year.
"At the start of the season we expected to be one of the top two or
three teams in the conference, but after we learned that (point
guard) Derrick (Rose) would be lost for most if not all of the
season, tough decisions had to be made," Bulls operations chief John
Paxson told reporters. "We came to the conclusion that we would need
more financial flexibility in order to build a complete roster in
the future." Milwaukee's rebuilding effort is still on the ground
floor, as the Bucks rank last in the league in offensive efficiency
and 23rd among 30 teams in defensive efficiency.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, CSN Chicago, FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee)
ABOUT THE BULLS (15-18): If any team can survive losing two of its
top offensive players — Rose to injury and Deng via trade — it might
be the Bulls, who rank second in the league in defensive efficiency.
Their last two wins have also come without forward Carlos Boozer
(knee), whose 14.7 points are the most among Chicago's remaining
players. Rookie Tony Snell (5.5 points) scored 12 points in the
first game without Deng and he likely will see more playing time and
get a chance to produce more at the offensive end going forward.
[to top of second column]
ABOUT THE BUCKS (7-27): Things have been rough on and off the
court for Milwaukee as center Larry Sanders and reserve guard
Gary Neal hashed out their differences in the locker room
following a 116-110 loss at Phoenix on Saturday. "We're back in
love with one another," Bucks coach Larry Drew told reporters
after Tuesday's 101-80 defeat versus Golden State. "It's a very
emotional game and tempers do flare. The most important thing is
that there is no snowball effect — we make it an isolated
incident." The Bucks also have been plagued by injuries and have
used 18 different lineups and had 12 different players lead the
team in scoring in at least one game.
The Bulls have won seven straight meetings in Milwaukee
dating to 2009.
Since the start of the 2010-11 season, the Bulls are 73-9
when holding opponents under 90 points, but they're only 12-5
when doing so this season.
Bucks SF Caron Butler (11.2 points, 5.3 rebounds) is shooting
just 32.7 percent at home and has not shot higher than 40
percent from the field in any home game this season.
PREDICTION: Bulls 94, Bucks 85
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