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Bulls vs. Bucks Preview: Border battle for 40th MACC Fund game

Don’t expect to see Jimmy Butler or Dwyane Wade much (or at all).

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Finally there’s a good reason to embrace Bulls fans invading the BMO Harris Bradley Center — to support the fight against childhood cancer.

The Bucks kick off their BMO Harris Bradley Center schedule with the 40th Annual MACC Fund game on Saturday night, welcoming the Chicago Bulls (and their fans) on a night where a portion of ticket sales will benefit the MACC Fund’s work to support childhood cancer research. You can buy tickets right here.

Bucks Update

Giannis Antetokounmpo broke out of his preseason funk in Wednesday’s loss to the Pacers, but unfortunately he didn’t have much company. While the Bucks’ super-long starting lineup of Giannis, Malcolm Brogdon, Jabari Parker, Thon Maker and John Henson acquitted itself rather well at the start of the first and third quarters, things went off the rails early as the Pacers ripped off a 41-6 run to blow the game open in the second quarter.

Still, Antetokounmpo’s 20 points, six assists and five rebounds in three quarters was a nice contrast to his forgettable first two games, which also included a slow start that saw the Bucks down 14-3 early in their preseason opener in Chicago. Hopefully we’ll see Matthew Dellavedova back among the starting five on Saturday; he was rested on Wednesday and thus should be at peak #GRIT on Saturday. Check out our podcast preview from Friday below:

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On the injury front, Rashad Vaughn has been ruled out due to a sprained ankle, the same injury that kept him out of the Bucks’ win over the Mavericks in Madison. That’s bad news for the Bucks’ struggling 2015 first rounder, who has yet to provide any indication he’s ready to help fill Khris Middleton’s monstrous shoes at the vacant shooting guard position. He’s just 2/13 from the field and 1/9 from three in 46 preseason minutes thus far.

As for the lineup we’ll see from Jason Kidd? Who knows. Aside from Giannis and Jabari, I’m hoping demanding we see Matthew Dellavedova start and hoping we see Greg Monroe off the bench, with everything else up for grabs. Go big with Thon Maker or Mirza Teletovic, pushing Giannis to the two? Hey, sure. A more traditional two guard backcourt with Brogdon or Jason Terry? Fine.

More news/notes/required reading:

Bulls Update

I’m not sure why a team would ever have three games in four nights in the preseason, but that’s just what the Bulls have to deal with starting Friday at home against the Cavaliers. Given that calendar congestion, Jimmy Butler indicated he would be taking off both weekend games, while Fred Hoiberg indicated that Dwyane Wade, Rajon Rondo and Taj Gibson would also be rested. In other words, it’ll be Robin Lopez and a bunch of bench guys starting (including German second rounder Paul Zipser), so don’t expect visiting Bulls fans to be particularly thrilled with who they see on the court. In terms of actual injuries, Denzel Valentine and Tony Snell are both out with ankle injuries. Update:

After opening the preseason with losses to the Bucks and Pacers, the Bulls won their first of the exhibition season against Indiana last Saturday and had a full six days off before beating a Cavaliers team without LeBron, Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Kevin Love and Iman Shumpert last night (fun). Against the Pacers, Wade scored 22 points on just 14 shots to go with eight assists and zero turnovers in 27 minutes, and the Bulls also got terrific nights from bench bigs Nikola Mirotic (6/9 fg, 18 pts, 9 rebs) and Taj Gibson (9/9 fg, 20 pts). Meanwhile, Gibson had another 18/11 night against the Canton Charge Cavaliers benchwarmers on Friday, while Zipser earned himself a start tonight with a promising 18-point night on 7/9 shooting.

Both Mirotic and Gibson are angling for the starting power forward spot next to Robin Lopez (you may recall Gibson starting against the Bucks and sagging way off Jabari Parker), though Bobby Portis got the nod on Saturday. Over at Blog a Bull, Tyler Pleiss writes that Gibson could have the inside line on the position right now:

While many have assumed for some time now that that starting spot would go to Nikola Mirotic due to his shooting and lack thereof in the starting unit, it hasn’t necessarily been the case in the early goings. So far, Niko, Taj Gibson (who may be the front runner right now) and Bobby Portis have all taken turns starting at power forward during the preseason.

For more on the Bulls, check out the latest podcast from our Locked on Bulls friends Sean Highkin and Cody Westerlund: