The Chicago Bulls appeared to turn the corner with seven consecutive victories but back-to-back losses to two of the NBA’s better teams stifled that momentum. Chicago attempts to break the brief skid and defeat Milwaukee for the second time in less than two weeks when it visits the Bucks on Tuesday.
The Bulls averaged 111.1 points during the winning stretch but didn’t look all that potent during Saturday’s 117-92 loss to the Boston Celtics and know they need to quickly bounce back. “We have to be ready for Tuesday because we are facing a Milwaukee team we took down in their own building, so I know they are going to want to get their (revenge) against us, too,” forward Bobby Portis told reporters in reference to the 115-109 win in Milwaukee on Dec. 15. “I feel we are heading in the right direction.” The Bucks dropped four of their last six games, including Saturday’s 111-106 loss to the Charlotte Hornets. All-Star small forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee) missed that game and is considered questionable for Tuesday’s contest.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBATV, NBCSN Chicago, FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee)
ABOUT THE BULLS (10-22): Portis contributed a career-best 27 points and also collected 12 rebounds in the recent win over Milwaukee and is averaging 15.2 points and 7.6 rebounds over the past five games. Point guard Kris Dunn will be attempting to bounce back from a horrid performance against Boston when he tallied two points on 1-of-12 shooting. “Everything can’t be sweet,” Dunn told reporters. “I had a couple of good games. I knew a bad game would happen eventually. I’m not going to be good all 82. To be a good player in this league you have to put that behind, watch the film and be ready for the next one. Make sure you go out and play hard.”
ABOUT THE BUCKS (17-14): Antetokounmpo has scored 20 or more points in 21 consecutive outings and he terrorized Chicago with 29 points and 16 rebounds in the mid-December meeting. His right knee felt sore after Friday’s home victory over the Hornets, so the decision was made to hold him out for the rematch in Charlotte. “We just have to be cautious in this situation,” Antetokounmpo told reporters. “We don’t want to go deep into the season and this issue comes up again.”
1. The Bulls won four of the past five meetings.
2. Chicago F Nikola Mirotic scored just nine points against Boston after averaging 20.9 points over the previous seven.
3. Milwaukee swingman Khris Middleton scored 31 points on Saturday and is averaging 25.8 over the past five games.
PREDICTION: Bucks 110, Bulls 106