The Chicago Bulls have only made the playoff once under head coach Fred Hoiberg and that was during the 2017 Playoffs when they lost to the Boston Celtics, 2-4, in the first round. They are trying to avoid a second straight postseason absence as they look to end a two-game losing streak. They will look to do that as they take on the Milwaukee Bucks in Wisconsin. The Bucks, on the other hand, are coming fresh off of a 110-107 loss to the Charlotte Hornets.
The Bulls and the Bucks have battled each other a grand total of 263 times in the past as the Milwaukee team won 124 of those games while the Bulls went on to take the other 139 games. This matchup between the Chicago Bulls and the Milwaukee Bucks will mark the second of four times that these two ball clubs will meet up this season. November 16 was the last time they saw each other as the Bucks ran away with a 123-104 win. During that game, Eric Bledsoe scored twenty-five points, grabbed four rebounds, threw out six assists, committed three steals, and blocked one shot while Jabari Parker had twenty-one points, eight rebounds, and three assists.
-Kris Dunn (knee; 9.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 7.0 APG, 30.8 FG%, 25.0 3P%)
-Lauri Markkanen (elbow)
-Bobby Portis (knee; 10.5 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, 41.5 FG%, 27.3 3P%, 55.6 FT%)
-Denzel Valentine (ankle)
-Antonio Blakeney (coach’s decision; 10.3 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 0.6 APG, 43.6 FG%, 45.6 3P%, 63.6 FT%)
-Cristiano Felicio (coach’s decision; 3.6 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 0.6 APG, 57.5 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 75.0 FT%)
-Tyler Ulis (G-League; 0.0 PPG, 0.0 RPG, 0.0 APG)
-Rawle Alkins (G-League)
-John Henson (wrist; 5.6 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.0 APG, 46.3 FG%, 35.5 3P%, 60.0 FT%)
-Sterling Brown (coach’s decision; 3.2 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 0.5 APG, 44.4 FG%, 22.2 3P%, 71.4 FT%)
-Matthew Dellavedova (coach’s decision; 1.6 PPG, 0.8 RPG, 2.1 APG, 35.3 FG%, 40.0 3P%, 100.0 FT%)
-Jaylen Morris (coach’s decision; 3.5 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 0.5 APG, 75.0 FG%, 100.0 3P%)
-Trevon Duval (G-League)
-D.J. Wilson (G-League)
-Christian Wood (G-League; 3.8 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 0.4 APG, 50.0 FG%, 50.0 3P%, 75.0 FT%)
This would be a close game for most of the time as the Chicago Bulls shot fifty percent from the field in the first half while the Milwaukee Bucks went on to complete fifty-six percent of their shots. Zach LaVine would score eighteen points while knocking down two three-pointers. He also had two defensive rebounds, two assists, and one block while former Bucks forward Jabari Parker collected twelve points. Parker had two three-pointers in the first period while Ryan Arcidiacono chalked ten points, also nailing two treys. Robin Lopez played ten minutes off the bench but only scored six points.
On the other end of the court, Giannis Antetokounmpo got hot for twenty points as he shot seventy-three percent from the field. He was able to record five rebounds and four assists while Malcolm Brogdon scored twelve points, hitting two three-pointers in the process. South Carolina-native Khris Middleton saw to it that he got ten points while drilling a shot from beyond the arc late in the second quarter. Pat Connaughton played the most minutes off the bench but was kept to just a three-pointer as the home team went into halftime with a 63 to 62 lead.
Both teams would continue to go head-to-head as the Milwaukee Bucks shot forty-three percent from the field while the Chicago Bulls shot forty percent. Antetokounmpo continued to add to his scoring total as he put up sixteen more points while recording six rebounds, four assists, two steals, and one block. Brogdon helped out with four three-pointers while Brook Lopez had eight points.
DOWN TO THE WIRE:
With only thirty-six seconds remaining in the game, both teams would be tied at 111 apiece. Wendell Carter, Jr. would end up fouling Giannis Antetokounmpo, sending him to the line. Antetokounmpo was able to knock down both free-throws, giving them a 113-111 lead and forcing the Chicago team to call timeout. Out of the timeout, LaVine would make a driving reverse layup, tying the game up again. Middleton responded with a three-pointer, forcing the Bulls to call another timeout. Out of the timeout, Justin Holiday would attempt a trey to go into overtime but would miss as the Bucks hang on to beat the Bulls, 116-113.
Giannis Antetokounmpo would finish the game with a season-high thirty-six points, along with eleven rebounds, eight assists, two steals, and one block while Jabari Parker ended with twenty-four points, eight rebounds, and five assists. Zach LaVine also had twenty-four points, as well as nine rebounds, seven assists, and one block.
The Chicago Bulls will travel to Michigan to battle Blake Griffin (25.1 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 5.1 APG, 46.5 FG%, 36.7 3P%) and the Detroit Pistons (11-7) on Friday at 7:00 p.m. This will mark the second of four times that these teams will see each other this season. The last time they played each other was on October 20 when the Pistons slipped away with a 118-116 win. Blake Griffin finished that game with thirty-three points, twelve rebounds, five assists, and one block while Zach LaVine also thirty-three points, along with three rebounds and three assists.
The Milwaukee Bucks will play Tim Hardaway (23.0 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2.9 APG, 40.6 FG%, 36.8 3P%) and the New York Knicks (7-15) at the Madison Square Garden on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. This will be the second of four times that the Bucks and the Knicks will clash each other this season. October 22 was the last time that these teams played each other as the Knicks fell to the Bucks, 113-124. During that game, Giannis Antetokounmpo scored thirty-one points, pulled down fifteen rebounds, dished off four assists, and blocked two shots while Tim Hardaway settled for twenty-four points, two rebounds, and three assists.