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Bulls vs. Bucks preview and open thread: Can Chicago finally beat its Milwaukee rivals?

Looking like no Giannis tonight

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Chicago Bulls David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bulls (16-44) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (45-14)

7 p.m., NBC Sports Chicago

Injury Report:

Veteran point guard George Hill won’t play because of a groin injury, opening up more minutes for the dangerous Eric Bledsoe and the slightly less dangerous Malcolm Brogdon. The more significant injury report out of Milwaukee is in regards to The Greek Freak. Giannis Antetokounmpo is doubtful for the game tonight with right knee soreness.

On Saturday night, Otto Porter Jr. left the Bulls’ win against the Boston Celtics after straining his lower left leg. The injury report lists him as doubtful to play tonight. Kris Dunn missed shootaround with a migraine and is doubtful for the game tonight.


Are the Bulls good now?

Caveat: super small sample size alert. But, in the last three games, all of which the Bulls have (first three-game winning streak since end of last season), they have been a competent NBA team. Maybe even better than that.

During the Bulls’ three-game winning streak, they are one of four undefeated teams in the NBA (every team in the Association has played between two to four games since the Bulls’ current winning streak began on Feb. 13 against the Memphis Grizzlies).

Since Feb. 13, the Bulls have the third-best offensive rating in the NBA, the fourth-best net rating, and the second-best true shooting percentage. The pre-trade deadline move to acquire Otto Porter Jr. has injected some life into this team as we outlined in a BaB article last week.

In the stunning 126-116 win against the Boston Celtics on Saturday evening, Lauri Markkanen and Zach LaVine made history:

Anytime you do something on the court that Scottie and Michael did, you’re probably doing something right. Together this season, LaVine and Markkanen still have a minus-5.6 net rating, but that number is all the way up to plus-15.2 in the last three games.

Again, the caveat is that this is three freaking games. During the Bulls’ forgettable 2017-2018 campaign, they went through stretches where they won seven in a row plus three in a row on three other occasions. A broken clock is right twice a day, right?

The Bulls are 0-3 against Milwaukee this season, but they’re playing their best ball of the season right now and Giannis may not play, so I’m saying there is a chance.

Antetokounmpo scores 23 percent of the Bucks’ points, grabs 19.6 percent of the available rebounds, dishes out six dimes per game, and has a team-high usage rate of 31.9 percent. It’s like he’s important or something.

The Bucks are 2-2 in games he hasn’t played this season.

In other news, Robin Lopez is a gem both because of his play on the court recently (16.9 points per game in his last seven games) and his acting talent:

All jokes aside, Lopez is a pretty good actor. Cast him for “Space Jam 2” instead of LeBron James?

It’s also Joakim Noah’s 34th birthday today. Time flies.