Bucks look to claim second win in a week over Bulls

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 (thumb).

“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 likely.”

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


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 times.”

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 state.

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.