Oct. 28: @Bulls 108 Bucks 95
Dec. 3: @Bucks 97 Bulls 90
Feb. 18: Bulls 113 @Bucks 104
Bucks: Michael Redd (torn ACL and MCL) and Andrew Bogut (stress fracture in lower back) are out.
Bulls: Jerome James (right achilles) is out. Luol Deng (stress fracture in right leg) and Tim Thomas (strained left quad) are doubtful.
Newabull energy. John Salmons (23 points, 9 rebounds) and Brad Miller (19 points, 6 rebounds) played leading roles in Chicago's win over the Warriors on Wednesday. You might recall the Bulls had traded for them earlier in the day the last time these two played, but neither played. Chicago still won, in Milwaukee. Now they are only stronger with Salmons and Miller in the fold, although Luol Deng might not play, which could even things out some.
Still tied. Well, Milwaukee has a percentage point on the Bulls, but these two are basically the same place they began the year: tied. And Chicago is where it all started for the Bucks in an opening night loss. More than four months later, Chicago is also where Milwaukee's run in playoff position will come to at least a momentary end if they lose again. Of course, both the Bucks (Sessions, Mbah a Moute, Elson) and Bulls (Gordon, Salmons, Noah) have three new starters since they kicked off the campaign against each other, so there is little to draw from that late-October evening. And based on the pattern in the series season thus far, it's Milwaukee's turn to win. Unfortunately, this final head-to-head matchup is at the United Center, where Chicago is really quite bullish. This is not like going to Cleveland, but it's not a fun place for road teams either. The Nets made a statement by coming into the BC and winning this week, and now it's up to the Bucks to do the same in Chi-town if they are to avoid dreaded late-lottery territory.
- RJ+FT. Richard Jefferson is on a free throw binge, having made 31 in succession. And he made 15-16 in the previous Bulls/Bucks matchup. Since the All-Star break, RJ has hit 66 free throws, fourth most in the NBA. That is also exactly twice the number that Chicago leader Ben Gordon (33) has made in that span. This is the player we hoped for in the trade.