But they will have to do so without Nikola Mirotic, who is battling soreness in his left quad and knee after sustaining the injury in Game 2 when Zaza Pachulia made himself useful by falling on the rookie forward. Let the bitterness ensue:
Mirotic on whether what Pachulia did was dirty: "Could be."— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) April 23, 2015
Johnson reports that Mirotic is "unsure" about his status for Game 4, adding that Tom Thibodeau implied that Mirotic will not be a healthy scratch, even if the Bulls go into Saturday's game with a 3-0 lead.
Kirk Hinrich will be returning to action tonight after missing the previous four games with a hyperextended knee.
Now that the bad news is out of the way:
Two interesting stats: Bucks have posted 43.7% TS though the first two games of the playoffs. Bulls have assisted on 81.2% of FGM.— Steven von Horn (@StevevonHorn) April 23, 2015
Somehow, the Bucks have only converted 28-63 (44.4%) shots < 5ft from the rim! That's impossibly bad.— Steven von Horn (@StevevonHorn) April 23, 2015
The Bulls are the ones taking most advantage of the missed shot competitions by dominating the glass, Jimmy Butler is continuing his mission as the Bulls' "THAT GUY", the Bulls have been exploiting the flawed designs of the Bucks defense to a tee, Giannis Antetokounmpo is showing how much is not "there" yet, and Milwaukee is not finding high percentage shots, as Giannis and Michael Carter-Williams are 'killing the offense'.
What could go wrong for the boys is black and red tonight?
The Bucks scored more points per 100 possessions in Milwaukee than on the road, at 102.1, but everyone scores better at home, so that's still only good for 26th in the league. The overall .500 team in the regular season was 23-18 at home, so that's something.
Oh, wait. Never mind. Everyone wins more at home, too, so that was only 15th in the league.
What Milwaukee does have is a bunch of people in that state who cultishly love to support Wisconsin sports. It's only an hour and a half away from Chicago, where Bulls fans can save hundreds to see a playoff game, though.
Yeah, I got nothing, other than the Bucks beginning to pull out the "if you can't beat 'em, try to beat 'em up" card that the Bulls have seen before and could make for nice drama:
It is time for the Bulls to seriously look for coming out of this series energized and healthy, whether from a sweep or in five games. Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose, and Mirotic seem to need all the rest they can get, so hoping for a sweep.
Stats via NBA.com.