Eastern Conference heavyweights Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks will go at it this Saturday at Fiserv Forum. Both teams are coming off big wins, but whos’ going to emerge from this showdown unscathed?
Catch this game live on Saturday, January 22, at 9 AM, Manila time
Away: Chicago Bulls (28-15-/12-9 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Coby White
- SG: Ayo Dosunmo
- SF: Alfonzo McKinnie
- PF: DeMar DeRozan
- C: Nikola Vucevic
First off, the Bulls just received some bad news about Lonzo Ball, who is going to be out for at least six weeks after a decision has been made that he will go under the knife to repair a knee injury. While that’s certainly not encouraging for Chicago, especially when considering the fact that Zach LaVine is also out with left knee soreness, the Bulls can still feel good about their chances against the Bucks. For one, they still have the combo of DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic healthy. Plus, Alex Caruso, Coby White, and Ayo Dosunmo look capable of stepping up and delivering good numbers off the increased minutes they’d get while both Ball and LaVine are sidelined.
That was on full display in the Bulls’ 117-104 home win Thursday against the Cleveland Cavaliers. DeRozan and Vucevic had 30 and 24 points, respectively, in that game, while White, Dosunmo, and Caruso combined for 43 points. Caruso has just returned from a stint on the sidelines after dealing with a foot injury and played off the bench in his first game back on Thursday. He’s now knocked some of the rusts off and should fare even better in Saturday’s road game. The Bulls are 15-12 ATS this season after a win.
Home: Milwaukee Bucks (28-19/15-8 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Jrue Holiday
- SG: Grayson Allen
- SF: Khris Middleton
- PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo
- C: Bobby Portis
The Bucks thumped their chest on Thursday after bottling up Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies in a 126-114 home win to prevent a three-game skid. Prior to that, Milwaukee lost back to back to the Toronto Raptors and the Atlanta Hawks. Jrue Holiday made his return to that contest after missing six games with an ankle injury, posting nine points, five rebounds, four assists, and a steal in 22 minutes off the bench. Holiday could re-entry the Bucks’ starting unit as soon as this Saturday against the guard-heavy Bulls.
Holiday’s fantastic two-way play should come in handy against Chicago. But the bigger problems for the Bulls will be the tandem of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, who dropped a total of 60 points versus Cleveland. Antetokounmpo will also be a matchup problem for the less-mobile Vucevic, while Middleton’s presence in the perimeter would further guarantee that the Greek Freak will have the space to operate in the shaded area. That’s not to mention Bobby Portis, who’s been shooting 42.9 3FG%, so far this season. The Bucks are 14-6 ATS in their last 20 home games against a team with a road record better than .500.
Spread: The Bulls have been impressive this season, but without Ball and LaVine plus the problem that the Portis-Antetokounmpo frontcourt tandem presents, this game could end up in a blowout win for Milwaukee. I feel safer taking the Bucks (-9).
Over/Under: The (227.5) line seems a bit high for a game that features a banged-up Bulls against a top-10 team in terms of adjusted defensive efficiency. Leaning on the Under here.