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Bucks vs. Bulls Preview: Chicago desperate for offense against Milwaukee's top-5 defense

Chicago isn't a pushover on offense anymore, but they're ice-cold right now. Milwaukee's tough defense will try to take advantage tonight.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Bulls Update

Want to know why the Bulls are struggling a bit lately? There are a couple reasons, but here's one that sticks out: Derrick Rose is shooting TWENTY-EIGHT PERCENT in his last seven games. On over EIGHTEEN SHOTS PER GAME.

Bucks fans have seen Rose torch Milwaukee and the rest of the league enough times to be leery about throwing much shade his way, but that's a pretty remarkable slump. Consider that in the eight games prior to the stretch in question, Rose was averaging over 21 points per game on 50% shooting. He did manage to get back on track a bit last night versus the Wizards, scoring 19 points on 8-19 shooting, but he was 1-7 from behind the arc and had four turnovers. The guy we know and love to hate seems to be in there somewhere, but he's lost right now.

And the Bulls need him. Chicago has dropped their last two games (vs. Utah, at Washington) by a combined 36 points while shooting under 36% as a team. A loss tonight would give Chicago its first three-game losing streak since they lost four straight in December 2013.

Injury Update

Mike Dunleavy Jr. has started 33 games for the Bulls this season but missed last night's matchup with Washington with a right ankle sprain. He's expected to be out again tonight. Doug McDermott has been out since December 1st after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee because naturally the most hyped rookie class in years should definitely get ravaged by injuries. It's only fair.

Same cast of characters on Milwaukee's injury report. Larry Sander and Ersan Ilyasova still out, few other guys listed as day-to-day but not expected to miss time.

Four Factors

The Bulls have managed to defy tradition a bit this year. Under Tom Thibodeau Chicago has always been an elite defensive team that often struggles to score. This year neither fact holds true, but the team is arguably better for it. The Bulls are 11th in both defensive and offensive rating but their overall efficiency differential (+3.2) is over a point better than last year's unit (+2.0) which ranked 2nd in DRtg and 28th in ORtg. Chicago defends the floor extremely well and doesn't foul very often, but they rarely force turnovers. On offense they draw lot of fouls and crash the offensive glass but are 20th in eFG%.

Matching Up: Pau Gasol vs. Johnny O`Bryant III

Hoo boy.

2014/2015 NBA Season
(20-18, 12-10 road)
(25-12, 11-7 home)
January 10, 2015
United Center | Chicago, IL
7:00 CT
FS Wisconsin HD | 620 WTMJ
Probable Starters
Brandon Knight PG Derrick Rose
Khris Middleton SG Kirk Hinrich
Giannis Antetokounmpo SF Jimmy Butler
Johnny O`Bryant III PF Pau Gasol
Zaza Pachulia C Joakim Noah
2014/15 Advanced Stats
94.2 (13th) Pace 93.5 (16th)
103.6 (22nd) ORtg 107.8 (11th)
102.5 (4th) DRtg 104.6 (11th)

On the Bulls: Blog A BullBulls By The HornsChicago Tribune