[table id=27 /]
Enemy: By the Horns
Keyon Dooling vs. Derrick Rose
Derrick Rose is proving to the sports world that the Bulls didn’t need LeBron James or Dwayne Wade. They already had their superstar. Rose is averaging 25p/8a per game, while shooting a respectable 38% from three, up from 32% for his career. Keyon Dooling’s job will be to stay in front of Rose, and to hang onto the basketball while running the offense. Neither will be easy for Dooling.
Chris Douglas-Roberts vs. Keith Bogans
CDR put up a goose egg in 15 minutes against the Grizzlies, and now hasn’t scored in double digits in his last 6 games. Since his two game, 30 point and 24 point fluke, CDR has been the lost 6th man I was hoping he’d be. That said, he’s up against Keith Bogans, who is shooting a former Derrick Rose-like 32% from three. For a three point specialist, Bogans is failing the Bulls.
Corey Maggette vs. Luol Deng
Deng has had a mini-resurgence of sorts, averaging 17.6p/6r as the Bulls newfound 3rd (4th when Noah is healthy) option. Who knows which Corey Maggette will show up tonight? It’s hard to say, but his season average of 12p/4r is hardly intimidating. Maggette was originally supposed to be the Bucks super 6th man, but now is being asked to be the 2nd scoring option for the team, and so far, has had mixed results at best.
Ersan Ilyasova vs. Carlos Boozer
Boozer just returned from an ankle injury this weekend, and posted his season average of 20p/10r on the poor Cavs. Ersan, who was recently penned by the Journal Sentinel as still under development, has seen his minutes fall off a bit since Delfino’s return. Ilyasova logged only 14 minutes on Friday against the Cavs, and 21 against the Grizzlies on Saturday. Skiles is forced to continue juggling the team’s minutes while players are running in and out of the lineup with injuries, but until Ilyasova proves that more minutes always equals more production, his starter tag is no more than that; a tag.
Andrew Bogut vs. Kurt Thomas
The Bulls have weathered the Joakim Noah-less storm rather well, and it’s mainly thanks to Grandpa Kurt. Remember last year when Bogut went down and the Bucks stayed competitive, almost winning a playoff series? I think it has a lot more to do with Kurt Thomas’ savvy leadership presence than most let on. For all the times I’ve heard “The Bucks should’ve kept Luke Ridnour”, I have never heard the same about Kurt Thomas, save for from my mouth. Bogut has the advantage of about 10 less seasons on his knees, but don’t take Kurt lightly.
Carlos Delfino, Luc Mbah Moute, Earl Boykins, Larry Sanders and Jon Brockman
Omer Asik, Ronnie Brewer, Taj Gibson, James Johnson, Kyle Korver, Brian Scalabrine, and C.J. Watson
It’s great to see Carlos Delfino back on the court. And it’s hard to expect too much out of him in his first few games back as he gets his legs back under him. That said, Delfino needs to be more conservative with his shot selection, as he went 1-7 from three in both of his games this weekend, and shot Milwaukee out of the game on Saturday (2-12). Outside of Boykins, don’t expect much offense coming from the Bucks bench.
It’s crazy talk to expect the Bucks to roll into the United Center, losers of 9 of their last 10 in the Windy City, and beat the Bulls. The diehard fan in me desperately wants to believe, but the logical blogger in me is too level-headed. The Bucks have a habit of playing to their competition in big games, so don’t expect them to go down lightly. That said, the Bucks were supposed to be the team battling Chicago for the Central division, so this is as much a statement game for the Bulls as it is yet another must-win for the Bucks.
Brian Matzat is a contributor to Bucksketball.com. Follow him on Twitter. Then become a fan of Bucksketball on Facebook (click in the sidebar).