NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, February 26th (All times eastern)
Chicago Bulls (39-17) at Milwaukee Bucks (22-35), 8:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Central Division-leading Chicago Bulls have proven they can hang with the best the NBA has to offer and will take their act to the road tonight against the Milwaukee Bucks in the opener of a five-game swing.
The Bulls will make other stops in Washington, Atlanta, Orlando and Miami, and are 13-13 as the guest this season. They just defeated arguably the best team in the Eastern Conference, the Heat, with Thursday's 93-89 victory at the United Center behind another solid performance from MVP candidate Derrick Rose. Rose had 26 points, six assists and five rebounds for Chicago, which beat San Antonio a week earlier and bounced back from a loss in Toronto.
"D-Rose has been doing it all year, making big shots and they were so concerned about him that they over-played him," said Bulls forward Luol Deng, who hit the game-winning three-pointer with 16 seconds left to snap an 89-89 tie. "Derrick made the right play in kicking the ball out."
Deng finished with 20 points, 10 boards and five assists, as the Bulls won for the 11th time in the past 14 contests. Carlos Boozer had 16 points and nine boards in a winning effort, helping Chicago to a 53-39 advantage on the glass. Joakim Noah had seven points and eight rebounds in his second game back after missing 30 due to thumb surgery.
Milwaukee has alternated wins and losses over its last five games and will begin a four-game homestand Saturday night versus Chicago, Detroit, Phoenix and Boston. It is 14-13 in Cheese Country this season.
The Bucks are coming off Wednesday's 114-108 loss at New York in which Knicks newcomer Carmelo Anthony made his Big Apple debut with 27 points and 10 rebounds. Milwaukee was led by John Salmons' 27 points in defeat. Andrew Bogut added 14 points and 12 rebounds in the loss -- Milwaukee's ninth in 12 tries.
"It's one game and those are all Olympic-caliber players and they looked good out there," Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles said of the Knicks. "Neither of them shot the percentage they'd like to out there, but it's one game and they haven't even practiced with each other yet."
Carlos Delfino had 14 points and both Keyon Dooling and Corey Maggette provided 13 off the bench in a losing effort. The Bucks have had fewer turnovers than their opponents in each of the last five games. Salmons is averaging 18.3 points over the past eight.
Chicago has beaten Milwaukee twice already this season and is 9-4 over the previous 13 meetings between the Central Division foes. The Bulls, who are 11-0 in division play this season, haven't fared so well in Milwaukee lately, losing 19 of the last 24 visits there.
02/26 10:38:30 ET