Jabari, all alone in the moonlight. For someone once deemed “Major Cat”, it seems fitting to highlight Jabari Parker’s return to Milwaukee with a poor parody of a Cats track. That’ll be the story line you can fully expect ESPN to ram down your throats tonight, so I’ll keep any references to it reserved for this brief paragraph.
A horrible, no good, very bad reffing night for Milwaukee spiraled out of control when Mike Budenholzer was ejected late in Wednesday’s 116-113 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. With some suspect calls not going Milwaukee’s way, the Bucks couldn’t overcome that coupled with a horrific shooting night from deep, just 25.7% on 35 attempts. Those cold-shooting evenings will happen, but Milwaukee also scraped out several of these close victories early in the season. The Clippers and Memphis games have swung that pendulum the other way for now, but hopefully the Bucks can get back to their pummeling ways tonight against a far inferior Bulls team.
Fans will also recall Donte DiVincenzo leaving the Memphis game with an injury and he’ll be held out of tonight’s contest with a left quad strain. John Henson is also out with a left wrist injury.
Player to Watch: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Okay one last Jabari reference. I really want to see Giannis drop 40 on him tonight and dunk all over his dome.
Let’s see, where to start? The season started with their prized sophomore, Lauri Markkanen, getting injured. Then Kris Dunn sprained his MCL, and tonight they’ll be without Bobby Portis’ piercing stare and Denzel Valentine. They’ve got a -8.1 net rating, and it’s no surprise their defense is one of the most porous in the league. Who would’ve guessed that playing extended minutes with Jabari Parker and Zach LaVine on the floor wouldn’t be great defensively? What is a tad surprising is their lack of offensive flow. They are missing a key contributor in Markkanen, but for a team who expected that end of the court to be their forte, they’re sorely lacking. They’re also fresh off a 29-point loss to Boston.
Player to Watch: Zach LaVine
LaVine’s taken a step forward as a first option for this Bulls team, sporting an elite 33.5% usage rate that’s contributed to averaging 25.9 points per-36. His 3-point percentage has dipped down to 31.9%, but he’s been a career 36.8% shooter from deep so expect that to tilt back up. What’s changed is the sheer volume of shots he’s getting at the rim, which are making up nearly half of his overall shot attempts. He’s hitting 61% of those, around the 47th percentile for his position per Cleaning The Glass, but he’s getting fouled on 14.1% of his shot attempts, ranked in the 93rd percentile for his position. Milwaukee will have their hands full containing him.
Game 15: Against the Bulls, the Bucks will...
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