National Basketball Association
Preview
Chicago at Milwaukee
When: 8:00 PM ET, Friday, December 15, 2017
Where: BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

He probably won't garner MVP consideration anytime soon, but it's hard to argue with the impact forward Nikola Mirotic has had on the Chicago Bulls. The suddenly resurgent Bulls aim for their fifth straight win since Mirotic returned to the lineup when they visit the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday.

Mirotic has produced six, 19, 24 and 29 points - in that order - in his four games since coming back from facial fractures as Chicago - the last-place team in the Eastern Conference for much of the season - has put together the East's longest current winning streak. "We are enjoying playing the basketball together," Mirotic told reporters after a 103-100 victory over Utah on Wednesday. "You can see good chemistry. The guys on the bench, they are all yelling, they've been happy. So I think after (what) we all get through, this team deserves it." The Bucks were streaking as well until a visit to New Orleans on Wednesday, which resulted in a 115-108 loss. Milwaukee has won four in a row at home and also hosts the Bulls on Dec. 26.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN Chicago, FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee)

ABOUT THE BULLS (7-20): Point guard Kris Dunn capped a 13-point effort with a big basket in the waning moments against Utah and he added four steals for a team that is beginning to win the turnover battle more often. They are averaging 11.3 during the winning streak while forcing an average of 14, with Dunn and backup Jerian Grant making big strides in that department. Dunn has 7.3 assists and 2.3 turnovers per game in December after registering 4.3 and 3.2, respectively, in November, while Grant has 28 assists against only three turnovers in 81 minutes over his last five games.

ABOUT THE BUCKS (15-11): The Pelicans made 13-of-25 3-pointers in their win over Milwaukee, continuing a theme for the league's worst perimeter defense, which allows an NBA-high 40.2 percent shooting from the arc. "I think they hit threes — threes have been our killer for the last two years," guard Malcolm Brogdon told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "They made threes down the stretch and we didn’t contest them. That hurts and that wins games." Giannis Antetokounmpo tried to keep pace with a 32-point effort, his fourth 30-point game in six tries this month.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Mirotic is shooting 57.1 percent from the floor and 52.2 percent from 3-point range.

2. Bucks SG Tony Snell (knee) missed three straight games and is day-to-day.

3. Antetokounmpo averaged 27.3 points, 9.5 rebouunds and 6.5 assists as Milwaukee took three of four meetings last season.

PREDICTION: Bucks 107, Bulls 103
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Chicago 7-20 W4 5-8 2-12 0-1 7-19 0-4 6-8
Milwaukee 15-11 L1 9-4 6-7 1-0 14-11 2-3 5-7
Last Meeting
Chicago Milwaukee
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
3/26/17 CHI 109 MIL 94 109 49 54.1 94 34 44.0
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Chicago N. Mirotic 28 78.6 0
Milwaukee G. Antetokounmpo 22 57.1 6
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Chicago R. Rondo 9 2 7
Milwaukee G. Antetokounmpo 8 0 8
Assists Player  
Chicago J. Butler 14
Milwaukee G. Antetokounmpo 4
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Chicago J. Holiday 394 37.2 55
Milwaukee G. Antetokounmpo 772 54.9 195
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Chicago L. Markkanen 202 27 175
Milwaukee G. Antetokounmpo 262 55 207
Assists Player  
Chicago J. Grant 149
Milwaukee K. Middleton 123
Quickchart Matchup
Chicago Chicago Off vs  Milwaukee Milwaukee Defense
Chicago Off vs Milwaukee - Points For 97.6 Points For
Chicago Off vs Milwaukee - Points Against 104.2 Points Against
Chicago - FG% 42.5 FG%
Milwaukee - FG% 46.5 FG%
Chicago - Reb 44.6 Reb
Milwaukee - Reb 42.4 Reb
Milwaukee Milwaukee Off vs  Chicago Chicago Defense
Milwaukee Off vs Chicago - Points For 104.0 Points For
Milwaukee Off vs Chicago - Points Against 105.7 Points Against
Milwaukee - FG% 48.0 FG%
Chicago - FG% 46.4 FG%
Milwaukee - Reb 38.2 Reb
Chicago - Reb 46.1 Reb