Bucks/Bulls: Preview

Bucks (24-47, 6-29 road, 13th East) @ Bulls (28-44, 17-18 home, 11th East)

Gametime: 7:30 PM CT
TV: FSN Wisconsin/League Pass/NBA LP Broadband
Radio: 620 WTMJ/Stream Free @ NBA.com

Bucks Stats: Offense 21st (102.1 pts/100 poss), Defense 30th (109.3), Rebounding 14th (.505 rr), Pace 19 (93.3)
Bulls Stats: Offense 26th (100.5 pts/100 poss), Defense 10th (103.5), Rebounding 13th (.505 rr), Pace 11th (95.6)

Bucks Lineup: Mo Williams / Michael Redd / Desmond Mason / Charlie Villanueva / Michael Ruffin
Bulls Lineup: Kirk Hinrich / Larry Hughes / Luol Deng / Drew Gooden / Joakim Noah

Bucks Injuries: Charlie Bell is out at least two weeks with a sprained MCL. Andrew Bogut is day-to-day after undergoing nose surgery. UPDATE: Bogut will not play tonight.
Bulls Injuries: None.

07/08 Series: Tied 1-1. The Bucks beat the Bulls 78-72 on Nov. 3. The Bulls won in Chicago 103-99 on Dec. 28.
Key Points:

  • The Bucks head to Chicago to face the Bulls tonight after losing 103-86 to the Magic last night. To begin the season, the Bucks lost to the Magic and then beat the Bulls three days later, so hopefully they can follow a similar trend with another win over the Bulls tonight. The Bucks topped the Bulls 78-72 in the team's first matchup of the year. Almost five months later, that game remains the Bucks most stingy defensive effort, based purely on points allowed. In fact, the Bucks have only held an opponent under 80 points two other times this year: in an 87-78 win over the Clippers on Dec. 4 and the 78-73 dud against the Heat last week.
  • The Bulls lost 106-103 to the Hawks last night. All five Hawks starters scored in double figures while only Luol Deng, with 19 points, scored at least 10 starting for the Bulls.
  • The Bulls had a makeover since the last time the Bucks saw them. On February 22 they traded away Ben Wallace, Joe Smith, and Adrian Griffin and added Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Cedric Simmons, and Shannon Brown. The Bulls are a modest 7-12 since the trade, but the future looks brighter. In March, Noah is averaging 8.4 points and 7.4 rebounds on 50.6 % shooting from the field. He's also shooting 89.4 % from the line this month, a big jump from the 53.8 % he posted in December and January. Tyrus Thomas on the other hand has only regressed, going for 4.0 points and 3.1 rebounds on 31.2 % shooting in March.  
  • The Bucks need a win to enhance their slim chance of avoiding the Central Divison basement, the place they've called home the past three seasons. The Bucks enter tonight 3.5 games behind the Bulls and 5.0 games behind the Pacers. Including tonight's game, they play both the Bulls and Pacers two more times this year.
  • The Bucks also must finish at least 4-7 in their final 11 games in order to avoid their worst season since 1995-96, when they went  25-57. The Bucks have reached 30 wins in all but four seasons in the franchise's previous 39 seasons, not counting 1998's lockout year. The Bucks must finish 6-5 to reach 30 wins.
  • The Bulls are one of the few teams that can rival the Bucks in terms of disappointment and general absurdity. The consistently excellent Blog A Bull remains on its game though. Here's an excerpt from Matt's incisive March 25 game preview against the Hawks:

    No matter, I've been checked out ever since that game against Philly. Not rooting for them to tank, but hoping they lose. Sadly this team is too dumb to even tank properly, or I should say 'conventionally'. I guess Boylan's strategy is very effective, even if it's his imbecilic quest towards securing the head coaching job, and securing playoff funds for the Bulls.

    So I've given up on wanting playoffs, and after these past 2 games put them 3 games out and 3 teams out, it's over. However a loss tonight (7:30pm CST, CSN) may finally produce the organizational message of the same. I don't even want them to stop trying, I just want them to stop saying they're trying. It's annoying.

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