MILWAUKEE — When Bucks coach Scott Skiles hinted pregame that he might make a last-second lineup change before Saturday’s game against Chicago, the move he ended up making probably wasn’t what many expected.
Center Joel Przybilla made his first start of the season, replacing center Samuel Dalembert, who didn’t appear at all in the game. Skiles gave no reason for the move other than it was a “coaches decision.”
After the game, Dalembert had no clue why the change was made.
“I didn’t know,” he said. “How do you think the reaction would be? It was surprising. This is what it is. Nobody told me nothing.”
Przybilla was scoreless with two rebounds and three assists in 17 minutes. Backup Larry Sanders got the majority of time at the center position before fouling out.
Whatever the reason, the Bucks could have used Dalembert on the glass. Chicago killed Milwaukee on the boards, and the Bulls got seven offensive rebounds in the final five minutes.
In all, Chicago outrebounded Milwaukee, 54-40, including 20 offensive rebounds that led to 25 second-chance points.
“I thought we had some timely offensive rebounds,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “Jimmy (Butler) had a big one. Carlos (Boozer) had several. I thought Joakim (Noah) kept some balls alive, which was key. So it was good.”
Combine the second-chance points with the Bulls taking 16 more free throws than Milwaukee, and the Bucks had too many obstacles to overcome.
“If we are going to give them 20 offensive rebounds and have that kind of free throw disparity, really the only way you can make up for it is by knocking down threes and we didn’t do that either,” Skiles said.
A trend during Milwaukee’s three-game losing streak has been its dismal three-point shooting. Though the Bucks aren’t a good three-point shooting team to begin with, they have shot just 10 of 62 (16.1 percent) from beyond the arc during the losing streak.
Another trend during the past three games has been how much more frequently opponents have gotten to the line — 56 more free throw attempts to be exact.
“We’re concerned about it,” Skiles said. “. . . There’s a bit of an art to it. The guys that do it have done it in their careers and have figured out a way to do it. Usually the guys that don’t, don’t.”
Jennings update: Injured in the final seconds of Saturday’s loss to Chicago, Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings vowed he will play Monday when the two teams meet again.
Though that still may happen, the Bucks have listed Jennings as questionable and confirmed that his injury is a sprained left ankle.
Knowing how tough Jennings is, don’t bet against him giving it a go.