Milwaukee beat Chicago earlier this week in the season’s first
matchup between these injury-riddled foes.
The reeling Bulls expect to be a little healthier Friday night
when they look to avenge that defeat and try for a seventh
consecutive road win over the Bucks.
With Derrick Rose done for the season and fellow starters Luol
Deng (Achilles), Jimmy Butler (toe) and Joakim Noah (thigh) out,
Chicago (8-12) shot 37.3 percent during Tuesday’s 78-74 home loss
to a Milwaukee team that had nine players.
John Henson had 25 points with 14 rebounds and six blocks while
Brandon Knight overcame six turnovers by adding 19 with 10 boards
for the Bucks (5-17), who played without Caron Butler (knee), Gary
Neal (plantar faciitis), Zaza Pachulia (foot) and Larry Sanders
“They’re missing guys. We’re missing guys,” Knight said. “But at
the end of the day, that’s how it’s going to be (in) NBA
basketball. You’re never going to have all your guys, more than
Noah is expected to play in the rematch after he returned to the
lineup Wednesday in New York. Though the Bulls rallied from a
23-point deficit, they fell 83-78 for their third straight defeat
and ninth in 11 contests.
Chicago, which has shot 34.7 percent while averaging 75.7 points
in the last three games, has not scored fewer than 80 in four
consecutive contests since Nov. 24-Dec. 1, 2001.
“We just got to stick together as a team,” Noah told the Bulls’
official website after he finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds
in 36 minutes. “We’ve been losing a lot of tough games right now,
but we can’t pout. We have to stick together through the hard
While Butler likely will sit for a 12th straight game, it’s
uncertain if Deng will miss his fourth in a row. The veteran small
forward has averaged 26.2 points over his last six contests.
Ex-Buck Mike Dunleavy has stepped up in his absence, averaging
20.0 points in the last three. After scoring a season-high 24 on
9-of-15 shooting versus Milwaukee, he had 20 but missed 17 of 24
shots against the Knicks.
The Bulls have averaged 99.0 points and shot 47.6 percent during
their six-game winning streak at Milwaukee, though they figure to
be hard-pressed to post that type of production in their current
The Bucks are hardly an offensive juggernaut, either. Milwaukee
averages 86.9 points at home – the worst in the league by nearly
five points – and dropped to 2-9 there with Wednesday’s 109-77 loss
to San Antonio.
Tim Duncan had 21 points to outscore the Bucks’ starters by two
as the Spurs shot 52.3 percent.
“We did not compete on a high level,” said coach Larry Drew,
whose team shot 34.5 percent and trailed wire-to-wire for the third
time this season. “We can’t use excuses of injuries or having
played (consecutive nights). We didn’t lay it on the line. We
didn’t play as hard as we should have.”
Reserve guard Nate Wolters had 18 points and fellow rookie
Giannis Antetokounmpo added 15 for the Bucks, who hope to at least
have Neal back after he missed the last two contests.
Milwaukee’s O.J. Mayo averages a team-leading 14.4 points and
had 22 during a 90-82 home loss to Brooklyn on Saturday, but has
totaled 10 on 3-of-16 shooting in the last two games.