Bulls vs. Bucks — 7pm on CSNC (Radio: ESPN 1000)
It will be the Bulls second straight game with Derrick Rose back in the lineup and they will be looking to make it two in a row as they prepare to enter the All-Star Break.
The Milwaukee Bucks roll into the Windy City struggling to remain relevant in an Eastern Conference that is quickly seeing it’s best and finest spereate themselves from the rest.
The Bulls fall into that category.
But Milwaukee is fighting to get in a position they were last year: fighting for a playoff spot. Right now the Bucks are on the outside looking in while the other teams they were battling with for a spot last year like Indiana and Philadelphia are surging to bigger and better things.
On top of the struggles, the Bucks are banged up with Andrew Bogut, Stephen Jackson, Drew Gooden and Tobias Harris out tonight. The Bulls will also be without significant pieces of their game plan with C.J. Watson and Rip Hamilton both taking a seat for the first half finale.
The last time these two teams met Derrick Rose aggravated his back which triggered him sitting for five games. Chances are that won’t happen again but with Rose back and basically the entire Bucks lineup out, the final score could be even more lopsided then it is already expected to be.
Milwaukee doesn’t stand much of a chance against the Bulls which affords Chicago a wonderful opportunity. They will be able to have their cake and eat it too. Derrick Rose can start, play at least 30 minutes but he can be rested for significant parts of the game. Playing Rose just 25 minutes wouldn’t be a terrible idea especially since he’ll have little competition going against him.
Luol Deng should be rested for a large part of the game as well as both Deng and Rose will be heading to Orlando for the All-Star Game. The Bench Mob, even sans C.J. Watson, are more then capable of taking on a lowly and banged up Bucks team and taking them to the woodshed.
It shouldn’t be much of a contest but it will be another opportunity for Tom Thibodeau to perfect how to use his stars in blowouts. It’s the one knock on his otherwise perfect record in Chicago is his botching of handing out minutes late and knowing when to take them away from his starters.
Thibodeau may have to start considering how to handle those minutes as early as halftime — because after all it’s just the Bucks.