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Chicago Bulls vs. Milwaukee Bucks: Preview, Injury Report, and Open Thread

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Can the Bulls finally beat the Bucks?

Milwaukee Bucks v Chicago Bulls Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Chicago Bulls (13-20) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (29-5)

NBC Sports Chicago, 7:00 p.m.

Injury Report:

Over the weekend it looked like the Bulls were going to catch another break and miss Giannis, but both he and Eric Bledsoe are available after missing the past couple games. Wesley Matthews is out.

Markannen is again listed as questionable with an illness, but he played fine on Saturday with it.

The Last Few Times:

The Chicago Bulls haven’t cracked the Milwaukee Buck code yet this season. In fact Milwaukee has topped Chicago eight straight times dating back to 2017.

In the first matchup, the Bucks offensive rebounded their way into a hard-fought 124-115 victory as fans got a kick out of Ryan Arcidiacono’s heroic efforts guarding Giannis Antetokounmpo late in the fourth quarter.

The next game between the two teams, which happened just four days later, was much less competitive. The Greek Freak dropped 33 points as the Bucks used a 31-20 fourth quarter to breeze to a 115-101 victory despite a great 21-point effort by Bulls rookie Daniel Gafford.

Preview:

The Bulls have quietly had a pretty good December.

They are 7-6 this month.

Yes, wins against the Sacramento Kings, Memphis Grizzlies, Atlanta Hawks, a Los Angeles Clippers team without Kawhi Leonard, a miracle win against a bad Washington Wizards team, the Detroit Pistons, and Atlanta again isn’t super impressive.

But, the Bulls are in no position to worry about the aesthetic of games as long as the outcome ends with a check in the win column. They are doing a better job this month of beating teams they should be beating. So there is at least improvement there.

Maybe the best thing the Bulls produced this month though was this:

The next week is going to tell us a lot about the Bulls. They play the Bucks, Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics, and Dallas Mavericks. By far, their most difficult stretch of the season so far.

Can they steal a win in this stretch? Screw considering staying competitive in these games as a positive. It’s year three of a rebuild so progress needs to be measured by wins not feel-good losses. Will the Bulls fold during this stretch, lose all four games, and slide further down the standings of the Eastern Conference away from that eighth playoff spot that they want so bad? Or can they steal some wins against actually good teams

It should be an interesting week of Bulls basketball.

In other news, the NBA trade deadline isn’t that far away (Feb. 6). We have ourselves a Bulls rumor. Los Angeles Times writer Dan Woike reports the Los Angeles Clippers are in the market for big men and Thaddeus Young is on their wish list.

Stat:

Courtesy of BaB’s very own Mark Karantzoulis.