It has been a tale of two seasons for the Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks thus far. For the Bulls, it has been absolutely dreadful, as they are currently 4-11 and have lost 3 of their last 4 including a 111-82 blowout to the Boston Celtics on Wednesday. For the Bucks, they got off to a really fast start winning their first 7 games. Since then, they have gone 3-4, but remain an imposing team at 10-4, especially when matched up with a struggling team like the Bulls. On Friday, the two teams will square off with one another when the Bulls travel to Fiserv Forum to take on the Bucks. Tipoff is scheduled for 9:30 pm ET.
Milwaukee is the favorite in this one by a whopping 13.5 points at home. The over/under on total points scored is set at 224.5.
By The Numbers
On both sides of the ball, the comparison between the Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks isn’t pretty. Offensively, the Bucks rank second in the NBA in adjusted offensive rating (an estimate of points scored per 100 possessions adjusted for strength of opponents defense) at 117.20 points. The Bulls, on the other hand, rank 29that just 103.26 points. Adjusted defensive rating isn’t a whole lot better as the Bucks rank 3rd, giving up 104.75 points, while the Bulls rank 23rdat 111.50 points.
Bulls Looking To Get Youngsters Confidence
This team was likely not going to be competing this year regardless, but it is especially challenging to win when two of your best players have been out thus far with varying injuries. Starters Lauri Markkanen (elbow) and Kris Dunn (MCL sprain) have been out for the beginning of the season while reserves Denzel Valentine (ankle) and Bobby Portis (MCL sprain) also remain sidelined. With their absences, a lot of weight has been put on the shoulders of Zach LaVine. On the season, he is averaging 25.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 4 assists. While he is may be a budding superstar, he still can’t do it alone.
The play of first-round pick Wendell Carter Jr. has been encouraging thus far. The big man is averaging 11.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists in his rookie campaign. While the Bulls will expect more has his career progresses, it is certainly an encouraging start. Aside from LaVine and Carter, other contributors have been Jabari Parker (14.7 points, 6.5 rebounds per game), Justin Holiday (11.4 points, 3.7 rebounds), Antonio Blakeney (10.8 points) and Ryan Arcidiacono (7.2 points, 4.4 assists).
Bucks Look To Get Rolling Again
When you look at the success of the Milwaukee Bucks, you really don’t have to go further than Giannis Antetokounmpo. The “Greek Freak” is averaging 25.8 points, 12.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game. While he has some solid contributors around him, the success of the bucks lies largely in his abilities on a nightly basis. As a second option in their offense, Khris Middleton has also had a nice start to the season. The forward is averaging 19.4 points, 5 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game.
Aside from these two, other players who have had good starts to the season include Brook Lopez (12.5 points, 3.1 rebounds), Ersan Ilyasova (8.3 points, 6.4 rebounds), Malcolm Brogdon (13.9 points, 4 rebounds, 3.2 assists) and Eric Bledsoe (13.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 6 assists).
Bucks Win Big
Right off the bat, I really don’t see any way that the Bulls win this game. Thus, it comes down to the spread. Looking at the numbers, it is just hard to ignore that the Bucks rank in the top three in both adjusted offense and defense while the Bulls fall to the bottom in both categories. I think LaVine will have another nice night, but ultimately Antetokounmpo and the Bucks will just be too much for the Bulls. I am taking the Bucks even giving up the 13.5 points in this one.