Central Division rivals the Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks will face each other for only the second time this season on Friday. The Bucks trounced the Bulls the last time these two sides met. Both teams enter tonight's matchup on the back of their respective losses, though.
Fixture: Milwaukee Bucks vs Chicago Bulls | NBA Season 2020-21
Date & Time: Friday, April 30th, 9 PM ET (Saturday, 6:30 AM IST)
Venue: United Center, Chicago, IL
Milwaukee Bucks Preview
The Milwaukee Bucks suffered a deflating loss at the hands of the Houston Rockets last night. That they conceded 143 points against a team that has the fourth-worst offensive rating in the NBA this season is a cause for concern. Even more concerning is the right ankle sprain that Giannis Antetokounmpo suffered against the Rockets.
Bobby Portis stepped up to the plate for the Milwaukee Bucks last night after the Greek Freak's injury and managed a double-double. Portis has had a decent campaign so far with averages of 11.4 points and seven rebounds per game. He's likely to start against the Chicago Bulls if Giannis sits out.
Khris Middleton has had a few tough outings over the last week for the Milwaukee Bucks – including the game against Philly where he blanked out from the field – so but he was able to rediscover his mojo in Houston yesterday. Middleton recorded a team-high 33 points and will be hoping to carry this momentum into the matchup against the Chicago Bulls.
Key Player - Jrue Holiday
Jrue Holiday usually sets the tone for the Milwaukee Bucks on the defensive end, but he allowed the 20-year-old Kevin Porter Jr. to score 50 points last night. Holiday himself had a double-double with 29 points and 10 rebounds so there were still some positives for him to take. The veteran point guard will be asked to synchronize things on both ends of the court against the Chicago Bulls tonight.
Milwaukee Bucks Predicted Lineup
G Jrue Holiday, G Donte DiVincenzo, F Khris Middleton, F Bobby Portis, C Brook Lopez
Chicago Bulls Preview
Slowly but surely, the Chicago Bulls are slipping out of the race for the play-in tournament spots. They've won only two of their last five games and are currently placed 11th in the East with a 26-36 record. Zach LaVine's spell on the sidelines due to the health and safety protocols doesn't help their cause either.
Coby White has been promoted to the starting lineup in LaVine's absence. White has usually struggled for efficiency from the field but he's managed 18.4 points on 50.8% shooting across the last five games. He'll have the license to go for the kill against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Meanwhile, Lauri Markkanen is still adjusting to his role off the bench for the Chicago Bulls. Markkanen has averaged 9.7 points and 4.1 rebounds per game since being moved to the second unit at the start of April. The Finn has shot the ball at 41.4% from downtown during this stretch so that's a positive.
Key Player - Nikola Vucevic
Nikola Vucevic is under tremendous pressure to perform at a high clip in the absence of Zach LaVine. Daniel Theis' inconsistent performances in the frontcourt haven't helped his cause either. Vucevic has averaged 25.3 points and 14.3 rebounds through the last three games despite teams doubling him up. He'll have to record similar numbers against the Milwaukee Bucks if the Chicago Bulls are to return to winning ways.
Chicago Bulls Predicted Lineup
G Coby White, G Garrett Temple, F Patrick Williams, F Daniel Theis, C Nikola Vucevic
Bucks vs Bulls Match Prediction
The Milwaukee Bucks will be confident of their chances irrespective of whether Giannis Antetokounmpo plays or not. Mike Budenholzer's men will be playing with a chip on their shoulders, especially on the defensive side. The Chicago Bulls have lacked chemistry in general and most of their wins have been down to individual performances. Even the latter might be hard to come by on Friday. Expect the Bucks to win this game.
Where to watch Bucks vs Bulls?
Local coverage of this matchup will be available on Bally Sports Wisconsin and NBC Sports Chicago Plus. You can also live stream the same via the NBA League Pass.