[UPDATE by your friendly BullsBlogger, 01/27/12 5:32 PM CST - per KC, Rip aggravated his groin and is likely out, Jimmy Butler to get the start -ed.]
[Thanks to pocketwatch for today's game preview. Game Thread up at 7:08 -ed.]
The Bulls catch a break (pun slightly intended I guess) as Bucks' big man Andrew Bogut suffered a fractured ankle against the Rockets on Wednesday and is out indefinitely. This means we will likely get a hearty dose of Drew Gooden tonight at center.
If we can keep Brandon Jennings in check this should be a game where the Bulls take care of business with relative ease. Jennings is averaging a career high 20.2 points on 44% shooting this year paired with a 20.7 PER. He comes into tonight extra hot averaging 26 points over his last 5 games. Jennings is a streaky shooter that can quickly light you up, but without Bogut our defense can mainly focus on shutting him down. But IF he's got it going tonight, it should be extra hilarious to see Boozer trying to defend him on pick and roll situations.
Taj Gibson looks like he'll be back tonight as he participated in the team's shootaround this morning saying, "I'm feeling a lot better, anxious to play." This is splendid news. Watching Boozer Wednesday against the Pacers led to me yelling at my TV more than I'm comfortable with in front of strangers. Here's also to hoping for zero meaningful Scal minutes tonight.
The Bucks with Mbah a Moute, Ilyasova, Delfino, Jackson, and Dunleavy have the potential to give us some matchup problems at the 3 and 4 tonight with different size and skill sets, but having Taj back should help a lot.
Derrick Rose vs. Brandon Jennings
Rose still looks to be limited by his toe injury and Jennings comes into this game hot. Jennings is averaging 17 shot attempts this year and this will probably only go up with Bogut out. Rose is going to have his hands full on defense.
Rose has dominated Jennings in his career, so no reason to think he won't do the same tonight.
Rip Hamilton vs. Shaun Livingston
Livingston has not been much of a factor this year. He's only started 4 games and his averages (7.5/2/2.6) don't scare you. Have fun chasing Rip around screens.
Bonus Video: Livingston's extremely gross knee injury from however any years ago (NSFL)
Brewer is coming off his first career 20/10 game against the Pacers on Wednesday. It helped that Danny Granger was only aware of his presence on the court 50% of the time allowing for sneaky baseline buckets. Delfino is shooting an awful 38% from the field this year but averaging a respectable 11/4.6/2.7.
Carlos Boozer vs. Luc Mbah a Moute
How awful was Boozer wednesday? I've never missed Taj so much in my life. Substituting Scal in for Boozer at the end of the game made me extremely happy and pissed off at the same time. I don't even want to talk about this. Good to have you back Taj.
Joakim Noah vs. Drew Gooden
Noah seems to have found his groove again as he has put up double digit rebounds in 7 of his past 9 games. Gooden gets the nod for the injured Bogut. Gooden is no slouch, but the drop off from Bogut is pretty sizable.
Head over to Brew Hoop for their better and more comprehensive game preview
Game starts at 7pm on WCIU