Update: Luol Deng is now expected to start after missing the past two weeks with torn ligaments in his left wrist.
Bulls update. The Bulls have alternated wins and losses over the past six games, having most recently defeated the Knicks 105-102 at Madison Square Garden on Thursday. Derrick Rose dropped 32 points (12/26 fg) and 13 assists, while Kyle Korver and Carlos Boozer added 16 apiece. Rose wore down the Bucks last weekend in Chicago, weathering a big first half from Brandon Jennings (19 of his 25 in the first two quarters).
It was a similar story for Jennings last night. He started the game red hot (5/5 from the field, 3/3 threes), but then slumped in the second half and was outplayed by Brandon Knight (26 pts, 7 ast) as the Bucks failed to get anything going against the Central cellar-dwelling Pistons. The good news (for tonight at least) is that Jennings has consistently brought his A-game at home, averaging 22.3 ppg and 7.1 apg on .487/.426/.800 shooting.
Rim check. We mentioned the other day that the Bucks' scoring efficiency at the rim has vastly improved from a year ago, but perhaps not surprisingly those numbers have dropped off since Andrew Bogut's injury. The Bucks have shot under their season average of 65% at the rim in each of the past five games. But does it matter? The Bucks are 3-2 in that span and finishing at a high percentage hasn't guaranteed wins, as they're a good-but-not-great 4-3 when they shoot above 70% at the cup. Which isn't to say that scoring effectively in the paint is unimportant, but it's not everything.
Boards. The Bucks continue to struggle on the defensive glass, ranking just 27th in the league in defensive rebound rate (71.0%). That spelled big problems in Chicago last weekend, as the Bulls nabbed 40.8% of their misses en route to a 107-100 win. Not that it should have been a big surprise--Chicago ranks first in offensive rebound rate (31.5%), while the Bucks have now been out-rebounded in six straight games.