Nov 24, 2012; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Jennings (3) shoots during the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bulls at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. The Bulls defeated the Bucks 93-86. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Milwaukee Bucks Game Preview: Last Edition of the "Border Battle"

The Milwaukee Bucks (24-19) have an opportunity to do something most sane people thought was impossible at the start of the season; win the season series over the Chicago Bulls (27-17).

Thanks to two unlikely wins in Chicago, the Bucks find themselves with a 2-1 record over the Bulls in this years’ campaign. A win over the Bulls Saturday would give the Bucks’ their first winning season over the Bulls since the 2009-10 season.

With their win last night, the Bucks find themselves 2.5 games back of the Bulls for first place in the Central Division. If the Bucks have any aspirations of clinching home court advantage and raising a banner, winning this game over the Bulls would go a very long way in that quest.

The Bulls have been quite impressively lately, winning 7 of their last 9 and propelling themselves to 3rd in the Eastern Conference rankings. Chicago enters this game off a 93-85  win over the Bobcats on Monday. Milwaukee is riding a wave of momentum following their 117-90 win over Detroit last night. This will be the 9th time the Bucks have played in back-to-back nights this season. They are 3-6 in the second night of those back to backs, including a 104-96 win over Chicago earlier this month.

Projected Lineups

Bulls: Kirk Hinrich, Rip Hamilton, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah
Bucks: Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, Luc Mbah a Moute, Ersan Ilyasova, Larry Sanders

Statistical Breakdown

The Bulls and Bucks are two very similar offensive teams, highlighted by their offensive rating. The Bucks rank 13th in points per game averaging 97.6, while the Bulls rank 27th with 93.3. Chicago is 10th in assists per game while Milwaukee is 14th.

Unadjusted Adjusted
Rk Team W L W-L% MOV ORtg ▾ DRtg NRtg MOV/A ORtg/A DRtg/A NRtg/A
21 Chicago Bulls 27 17 .614 2.41 103.91 101.23 2.68 1.65 103.66 101.79 1.87
24 Milwaukee Bucks 23 19 .548 -0.62 103.55 104.37 -0.82 -1.10 103.79 105.12 -1.32
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/29/2013.

The 2.5 game difference between the two squads is really on the defense end of the ball. Chicago ranks 3rd in the league in points allowed per game with 90.9 per game, while the Bucks are 17th with 98.2 points allowed a game. While both teams have had good seasons defensively, the Bulls have continued their trend under Tom Thibodeau of being an elite defensive team.

Unadjusted Adjusted
Rk Team W L W-L% MOV ORtg DRtg ▴ NRtg MOV/A ORtg/A DRtg/A NRtg/A
3 Chicago Bulls 27 17 .614 2.41 103.91 101.23 2.68 1.65 103.66 101.79 1.87
9 Milwaukee Bucks 23 19 .548 -0.62 103.55 104.37 -0.82 -1.10 103.79 105.12 -1.32
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/29/2013.

A key for the Bucks in this game is containing the Bulls’ inside duo of Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah. The Bucks’ block master Larry Sanders has been very good sending back shots and locking up the defense boards against the Bulls this season, and Milwaukee will need that play from Larry to win this game. If Sanders gets in foul trouble early like he tends to do, the Bucks could find themselves in a hole early in this one.

This is my plead to YOU Bucks fans. Get off your couch, grab a ticket for tonight’s game. Head to the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Be louder then Bulls fans. The Bucks are selling 1/2 off tickets with the code “TWTWC”. Do your duty as a fan! Protect the BC!

Tags: Chicago Bulls Milwaukee Bucks

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