NBA: Bucks get latest chance to exploit dominance over Bulls
The Milwaukee Bucks look to continue their recent dominance over their I-94 rival as they host the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night.
The Bucks have won 16 of the last 17 regular season matchups against Chicago, as well as ending the Bulls season last year in the first round of the playoffs.
The teams look to start a winning streak after picking up solid wins at home on Monday night. The Bucks took down the Portland Trailblazers 119-111 and the Bulls had arguably one of their better performances of the year when they ended the Boston Celtics nine-game winning streak in a 121-107 victory.
Chicago is 2-0 against the reigning Eastern Conference champion Celtics this season, with both victories at home. The Bulls went a combined 1-15 against the Miami Heat, Celtics, Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers last season.
“One of the things we talked about before the season had started was that against the top four teams in the east and the west we didn’t play particularly well,” Billy Donovan said. “I think we’ve been way more competitive in those games than we were a year ago.”
Giannis Antetokounmpo leads the Bucks with 30.1 points and 11.6 rebounds per game, the fifth best rebounding number in the NBA heading into play Tuesday. Antetokounmpo scored 37 points on 16-of-24 shooting from the floor Monday despite being added to the injury report pregame with left calf tightness.
“It feels good to see the ball go in and be able to do what you’ve been working on,” Antetokounmpo said. “I’m trying to improve physically but I don’t ever think I’m 100 percent, but slowly trying to get there.”
The Bucks also got 17 points from Jrue Holiday and Grayson Allen, while Brook Lopez, the NBA’s leading shot-blocker at 2.8 per game, blocked five shots while scoring 14 points.
The Bulls are led in scoring by DeMar DeRozan at 25.4 points per game to go along with 4.2 assists. DeRozan scored 28 points Monday and Zach LaVine scored 22. Nikola Vucevic, the NBA’s third-leading rebounder at 11.8 per game, grabbed 13 boards and scored 12 points.
Key role player Pat Connaughton made his season debut for the Bucks on Monday after returning from right calf soreness. He scored seven points while grabbing two boards and picked up two steals in 16 minutes.
Khris Middleton (wrist) remains out for the Bucks but both he and Wesley Matthews (hamstring) were assigned to the G-League’s Wisconsin Herd on Monday to continue their rehab. Middleton has yet to make his debut this season.
For Chicago, Lonzo Ball remains out with a knee injury. Additionally, Goran Dragic struggled through Monday’s game due to a neck injury. There is no word on Dragic’s status for Wednesday.
“I think he’s got like a stinger, he had some numbness going down his arm and into his elbow,” Bulls head coach Billy Donovan said. “I just didn’t think he looked great out there and he was bothered by it.”
–Field Level Media