Will this be the start of the reignition of the Milwaukee Bucks-Chicago Bulls rivalry?
One of the side-effects of dominating a team like the Bucks have with the Bulls over the last three seasons is that it doesn’t develop a ton of animosity. You stroll in, whoop the opposing team up and down the floor, then leave.
The same thing could be said when the Bulls were good under Tom Thibodeau. The Bucks were either bad or irrelevant so there wasn’t much of a rivalry (except for Antetokounmpo running over Mike Dunleavy, that was cool).
But now, both teams are good and there could be some fireworks!
The Bulls are a team on the rise that wants to prove themselves against the defending champs. The Bucks want to show that they’re still the team to go through in the East.
They each also have players that have a lot of pride and won’t take guff from an opposing player. We’ve seen Portis get into with plenty of guys this season, most notably Pascal Siakam. The Bucks are a tough, physical team that can frustrate opponents.
Although the Bulls won’t be at full strength, there will still be a lot of pride and wanting to prove that they aren’t a doormat for the Bucks to walk over anymore (even if a lot of the guys are new and weren’t walked over by the Bucks the last couple of seasons).
If the Bucks blow out the Bulls, then they’ll want to get revenge later in the season. If it’s close, the Bulls will have confidence going into the next game, especially if they’re healthy by then.
Even if tonight isn’t what we initially hoped it would be, this could still be the start of a fun rivalry between the Central Division foes.