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News » Bulls-Bucks Preview 2009-11-29

Bulls-Bucks Preview 2009-11-29

Bulls-Bucks Preview 2009-11-29The Chicago Bulls opened their extended road trip in encouraging fashion, but nothing has gone right since.

Coming off another blowout defeat, the Bulls conclude a six-game trip Monday night against the Milwaukee Bucks in a matchup of teams looking to avoid a fifth straight loss.

After opening the season with five wins in nine games, Chicago (6-8) embarked on a two-week road swing made necessary by the circus occupying the United Center. The Bulls started the trip with a 101-87 victory over Sacramento on Nov. 17, but things went downhill from there.

Chicago is coming off a 105-86 loss to Utah on Thursday, and was outscored by an average of 19.3 points in dropping its last four. The Bulls lost each by at least 15, and have allowed an average of 111.8 points on 52.6 percent shooting during the slide.

"We're not communicating and we are letting people do whatever," guard Derrick Rose said.

The road-weary Bulls hope to rely on recent history as they try to stop the skid. Chicago is 11-2 against Milwaukee (8-7) since the start of the 2006-07 season.

In the teams' only meeting this season, Chicago rallied from 18 down to win 83-81 at home Nov. 3. Luol Deng finished with 24 points and a career-best 20 rebounds while Rose scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter.

Rose is showing improvement after getting off to a slow start due to an ankle injury. He has averaged 20.3 points on 50.7 percent shooting during the losing streak after averaging 13.4 points and 43.8 percent in the first 10 games.

Rose was the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2008-09, and Milwaukee's Brandon Jennings is emerging as an early favorite for the award this season.

Jennings ranks among the league leaders for first-year players with 22.3 points and 5.5 assists per game, although he hasn't been particularly sharp during the Bucks' four-game slide.

The point guard had 18 points on 7-of-22 shooting in a 100-98 loss to Orlando on Saturday, and averaged 14.0 points and 29.0 percent from the field in the last four. In the six games prior to the skid, he scored 31.0 points per game on 51.2 percent shooting, with Milwaukee winning five of those contests.

The Bucks had a chance to end their slide Saturday, but allowed the Magic to come back from a 15-point deficit midway through the third quarter.

"We've got to learn how to finish games," Milwaukee forward Hakim Warrick said. "When we get a big lead we just have to keep going and playing the way we've been playing."

Although Jennings has hit a bit of a wall, he could have better luck against a Chicago team that will likely be without top defensive player Kirk Hinrich (sprained left thumb). Jennings had a game-high 25 points against the Bulls four weeks ago.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 30, 2009


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