The Chicago Bulls begin their longest road trip of the season with a short trek north along Lake Michigan to face the Milwaukee Bucks on November 23.
Both teams are looking to find some consistency after going through a recent rough patch. The action gets underway at 8:00 p.m. (ET) at Fiserv Arena.
This is the first of four meetings between the Central division rivals. The Bucks swept the season series last year and have won 16 of the previous 17 matchups. The Bulls lead the all-time series 132-127.
Milwaukee is a 7-point favorite here. The over/under is set at 218.5
Bulls Look To Snap Three-Game Road Skid
Chicago starts a season-high six-game road swing tonight, looking for their first win away from the United Center since the first of the month.
The Bulls (7-10) are coming off one of their best offensive performances in a 121-107 victory over the Boston Celtics on Monday, snapping a four-game losing streak. The Bulls shot 51.7% from the field and drained 14 3-pointers at a 48.3% clip.
The Bulls are 4-6 in their last in their ten games. They have lost three straight and five of seven from home this season, with their last victory coming against the Brooklyn Nets on November 1.
The Bulls have shot the ball well recently though they have struggled from beyond the arc over the last five games.
Their real problem continues to be on the defensive end. The Bulls have allowed opponents to average 116 points on 50.1% shooting from the floor and 40.8% from the 3-point line. Both shooting stats rank in the bottom five in the league over the last five contests.
DeMar DeRozan has carried the Bulls all season long and has been cooking lately, scoring 28 or more points in three straight games and four of five. He torched Orlando for 41 points on Friday for his second 40-point game of the campaign. Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic are the Bulls’ other top scorers.
Reserve guard Goran Dragic injured his shoulder against the Celtics though he is expected to play tonight.
Bucks Thriving at Home
After rolling through the first nine games of the season unscathed, the Bucks have been inconsistent lately. Still, the Bucks own the second-best record in the NBA at 12-4, as they have thrived at home.
Milwaukee began its current four-game homestand in fine fashion with a 119-111 victory over Portland on Monday as the Bucks doled out a season-high 31 assists and shot 54.7% from the field, marking the second time that they have made half of their shots. With the victory, the Bucks improved to 3-4 in the last seven games.
Milwaukee is 9-1 at Fiserv Forum, tying Phoenix for the best home record in the league. The Bucks have won two straight there since falling to Atlanta last Monday.
The Bucks’ biggest issue this year has surprisingly been on the offensive end. While the Bucks ranked No. 1 in offensive efficiency last season, they are 22nd in that department thus far this year.
Part of the reason for such a huge drop in offensive productivity is continuity, as only four players have appeared in all 16 games. Khris Middleton and Joe Ingles have yet to play this season.
The Bucks are not a good shooting team, ranking in the bottom third in field goal percentage and 3-point percentage while also ranking 28th in free throw percentage. They take too many 3-pointers and struggle with turnovers. 3-D wing Pat Connaughton made his season debut against the Blazers.
As surprising as the Bucks’ offensive problems are, it is just as shocking that they are one of the best teams defensively. The Bucks, who are No. 1 in defensive ranking, are holding opponents to just 44% shooting from the field.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is again playing like an MVP candidate. Jrue Holiday, Brook Lopez, and Bobby Portis have been supremely productive.
Bulls/Bucks Betting Prediction
The Bucks -7.0 is the play here, as they have been dominant at home. Eight of the Bucks’ nine home wins have been by eight or more points.
Plus, the Bulls don’t shoot the ball well enough from the perimeter or have enough scorers to give the Bucks defense problems. They also don’t have an answer for Antetokounmpo or Holiday defensively.