It’s quite cliché to say that preseason games mean nothing, and yet, after getting overwhelmingly thumped 4-0 in the regular season by Chicago last season, it’s almost as if the Bucks need this game to get a leg up on the mental hurdle of beating their nearest neighbor. (7:00 PM CT, Radio: WTMJ 620, Away TV: Comcast Sportsnet Chicago). Doing so would keep them undefeated for the preseason. The Bulls enter tonight’s game with a mark of 1-2, including losses to Minnesota and Cleveland in their two most recent games.
Chicago: Kirk Hinrich, Richard Hamilton, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah
Milwaukee: Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, Tobias Harris, Ersan Ilyasova, Samuel Dalembert/Larry Sanders
Luol Deng (groin injury) and Richard Hamilton return to the Bulls lineup after missing their last game. In Deng’s absence, Coach Tom Thibodeau used small forward Jimmy Butler for all 48 minutes of a preseason game — so he really did plug him into Luol’s role. Newcomer Marco Belinelli filled in for Hamilton, but his transition to the defensive-minded Bulls has flummoxed his coach at times..
Crazy Rotations, Small Sample Sizes — It’s Time for Fun with Almost Meaningless Preseason Stats!
The Bucks currently feature four of the league’s top 11 shotblockers.
Among the league’s best assist tossers, Brandon Jennings sits fourth. He is only one assist per game behind the league leader, Deron Williams. Even though Jennings has been shaky with turnovers early in games, the Bucks have done a marvelous job, only turning the ball over a league-low 14.0 times per game.
The Bucks have both the seventh-highest scoring offense and the fourth-stingiest defense. As a team, they are second in assists per game which, if it were a meaningful statistic in any way, would be a continuation of the smooth passing offense they discovered after the Monta trade.
As for the Bulls, they clearly miss Derrick Rose. With almost-Buck Kirk Hinrich replacing Rose, the Bucks are averaging 15 assists per game through four games — a mark that puts them 30th among 30 teams in the preseason.
It has nothing to do with either Bulls or the Bucks, but DeMarcus Cousins is the league’s top scorer. I want this for the regular season.
UniWatch: The NBA’s plan to put advertising patches on jerseys is dead, at least for the time being.
Racine Journal Times: John Henson doesn’t consider his weight (220 pounds) to be an issue, and the Bucks hired a yoga instructor from San Diego to be their equipment manager.
Fox Sports Wisconsin: Scott Skiles praises Ersan Ilyasova for learning the virtue of patience.
NBA.com: The Bucks’ slogan for the year is ‘Your Ticket to Amazing’, with possible variations on that theme of the form “Your Ticket to ______.” If they win, it could be fun. But the fill-in-the-blank exercise will be all too easy if they struggle.
Basketball Reference: Happy 44th Anniversary! On this day in 1968, the Bucks played the first game in the history of the franchise. Jon McGlocklin (or McGl’klin, if you like) scored 8 points.
But the Bucks lost — wouldn’t you know it — to the Bulls. Egad.