Bucks vs. Bulls preview
Although Derrick Rose is showing some signs of ending his horrendous slump, the rest of the Chicago Bulls can’t seem to shake their recent run of debilitating cold stretches.
That could be a concern back at the United Center given the how well their next opponent is playing defensively.
The Central Division-leading Bulls look to avoid their first three-game losing streak in more than a year Saturday night when they take on a Milwaukee Bucks team seeking its sixth straight road victory.
After going 28 for 110 (25.5 percent) from the field over his previous six games for Chicago (25-12), Rose made positive strides Friday with a team-high 19 points while hitting 8 of 19 in a 102-86 loss at Washington.
However, the rest of the Bulls shot just 37.5 percent after they had a season-worst 33.3 mark in a 97-77 home loss to Utah on Wednesday. Rising star Jimmy Butler missed 10 of 12 shots for 10 points against the Wizards.
Since averaging 109.0 points over a six-game stretch, Chicago has scored 95.1 per game on 38.8 percent shooting over its last seven. The club hasn’t dropped three straight regular-season games since losing four in a row from Dec. 14-19, 2013.
"The way we’re playing is bothersome, it’s concerning," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "But you get into things together, and we’ve got to get out of things together."
Thibodeau is missing top perimeter shooter Mike Dunleavy, who is expected to miss his fifth consecutive game due to a right ankle injury. The former Milwaukee swingman has made 60 3-pointers on 41.7 percent shooting from long range.
Chicago will try to get back on track against a Milwaukee team that has limited opponents to 86.7 points on 38.6 percent shooting while winning six of nine. The Bucks had given up 107.0 per game and a 49.5 percentage in their previous 12.
Milwaukee (20-18) looks to win six consecutive road games for the first time since February 2010 after it ended a four-game slide at home with a 98-84 victory over lowly Minnesota on Friday.
"Another good win," said coach Jason Kidd, whose club hasn’t been three games above .500 since Nov. 28. "We stop the streak at home. We found a way to get a win and now we head to Chicago."
Brandon Knight has averaged 20.2 points and hit 15 of 35 from 3-point range over his last six games, but he’s scored 13.8 per game while missing 12 of 14 from beyond the arc in his last four against the Bulls.
Knight went 3 of 15 from the floor for 10 points in the first meeting Nov. 5 when Milwaukee finished with a 37.1 field-goal percentage and scored only 33 in the final two quarters of a 95-86 home defeat.
Taj Gibson had 23 points and 10 rebounds, while Pau Gasol added 22 and 14 in Chicago’s fourth straight win in the series.
Chicago native Jabari Parker won’t be able to play in his homecoming as he’s out for the season with a knee injury. Larry Sanders is likely to miss the game for personal reasons, while Ersan Ilyasova is recovering from a concussion.
Kenyon Martin had six points Friday after signing a 10-day contract to replenish Milwaukee’s depleted frontcourt.