Keys to the Game: Bulls vs. Bucks (12.31.16)
CHICAGO -- The Milwaukee Bucks will try to knock off the Chicago Bulls for the third time in a row this season when the teams meet Saturday night at the United Center.
The Bucks (15-16) dominated the Bulls (16-17) in two matchups earlier this month. Milwaukee pulled away for a 108-97 victory on Dec. 15 at home and one night later the Bucks limited the Bulls to a season scoring low in a 95-69 win in Chicago.
Although the season series has been one-sided, neither team has played particularly well in recent weeks. Chicago has lost seven of its past 10 games and Milwaukee has dropped seven of its past 11 as both teams stumbled below .500.
Fatigue could be a factor after both teams played on the road Friday.
The Bulls are coming off a 111-101 loss to the Indiana Pacers despite a team-high 25 points from forward Jimmy Butler. Guard Dwyane Wade added 20 points from the Bulls, but guard Rajon Rondo was benched for the entire second half after a mistake-filled start.
Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg played reserve guards Michael Carter-Williams and Jerian Grant in place of Rondo. Hoiberg did not say whether Rondo, Carter-Williams or Grant would start against the Bucks.
Regardless of whether Rondo starts or comes off the bench, the Bulls cannot afford for him to be a non-factor going forward. Butler said Rondo had his teammates' full support.
"We're all in this together, so we have to make sure (Rondo's) mind is still with us," Butler told the Chicago Sun-Times. "We know his heart is going to be, but we don't want anybody drifting away because something like that may happen.
"(We've) just got to stay in his ear, make sure he's constantly about this team because we still need him out here if we're going to win games."
Wade also could rest on the second night of a back-to-back set, but Hoiberg did not commit to his status for Saturday's game.
The 34-year-old left Wednesday's game against Brooklyn because of a migraine, and he spent time on the bench Friday against Indiana after falling awkwardly on his left wrist. He later returned to the game.
The Bucks also will play for the second time in as many nights after a 116-99 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night. Forward Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 25 points on 11-of-14 shooting from the field in 32 minutes.
Bucks rookie guard Malcolm Brogdon had 11 points, four rebounds and four assists in his first career start. Brogdon likely will start again Saturday in place of Matthew Dellavedova, who is out with a strained right hamstring.
"I don't think it's a big deal," Brogdon told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "When someone goes down, the next man has to step up. 'Delly' can't be replaced (with) what he brings to the team, his unselfishness.
"I think I'm in a great situation. I have great teammates that believe in me, and I also have a great coach. It's been a transition that has allowed me to gain confidence."
The Bulls are 10-6 at home this season. The Bucks are 5-9 on the road.
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