Sat, 26 Sep 2020

Bucks host Bulls, aiming for seventh straight win

Field Level Media
20 Jan 2020, 08:40 GMT+10

The Milwaukee Bucks will go for their seventh win in a row when they host the Chicago Bulls on Monday afternoon.

Milwaukee has won 11 of its past 12 contests, with its only defeat during that span coming Jan. 6 on the road against the San Antonio Spurs. The Bucks have the NBA's best record with 38 wins in 44 games.

They're also 20-2 on their home court, where they will return after Saturday's road victory against the Brooklyn Nets.

But don't try telling Khris Middleton that he and his Bucks teammates have achieved something great just yet.

"You don't win a championship in the regular season," Middleton recently said to reporters. "It's a long season. We've got a long way to go."

It will be a tough matchup for Chicago, which is 12 games below .500, but the Bulls are playing with more confidence after winning three of their past five contests. Chicago is coming off a 118-116 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, which included a forceful 31-14 rally in the fourth quarter.

Zach LaVine scored 42 points on 19-of-31 shooting to lead the Bulls. He is averaging 25.0 points per game on the season.

"We think Zach is an All-Star-caliber player," Bulls coach Jim Boylen said to reporters.

"I think he's played All-Star basketball. I think it's a great story, with the knee injury after the dunk contests, and working his way back. He's still only played 150-some games in a Bulls uniform in three years, so to me, it's a (heck) of a story of perseverance, of toughness, of a guy working his way through it with a young team."

As LaVine awaits a possible invite to the NBA All-Star Game, Bucks superstar forward Giannis Antetokounmpo knows he should plan on a busy All-Star weekend. The 25-year-old has been selected to the past three All-Star contests, and he is primed for a fourth straight honor during a season in which he is averaging a career-high 30.0 points per game.

Middleton is second on the team in scoring with 19.4 points per game, while Eric Bledsoe (15.1) ranks third.

LaVine is tops in scoring on the Bulls, with Lauri Markkanen next on the list with 15.0 points per game. The Bulls are dealing with injuries to several other key contributors including Wendell Carter Jr. (ankle) and Otto Porter Jr. (foot).

The Bucks are 3-0 against the Bulls and will try to finish off the regular-season sweep. Milwaukee won 124-115 on its home court Nov. 14 and 115-101 in Chicago four days later. The Bucks also won 123-102 in Chicago on Dec. 30.

The Bulls have not knocked off the Bucks since Dec. 26, 2017.

"We've got to keep getting better game by game," Antetokounmpo told reporters. "I think we're in a great place, but we've got to play great basketball for 48 minutes and not for a quarter or two quarters. We've got to get ourselves to a place where we can compete for 48 minutes, be sharp for 48 minutes."

--Field Level Media

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