After the Chicago Bulls were able to regroup from one of their worst losses of the season, the Eastern Conference leaders hope to continue their recent success against the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Bulls look to move above .500 on their nine-game road swing with a sixth consecutive victory over the Bucks on Saturday night.
One night after Chicago (19-6) put forth a lackluster effort in a 98-82 loss at Philadelphia, All-Star Derrick Rose had 32 points and 13 assists Thursday to help the Bulls hang on for a 105-102 win at New York. Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver each added 16 points as Chicago shot 52.7 percent and remained strong down the stretch to improve to 2-2 on its nine-game trip.
"I loved the resilience, the resolve, the bounce back ability," coach Tom Thibodeau told the Bulls' official website. "We've got great leadership. You can (make excuses) or find a way to win."
Rose, the team's undisputed leader, has averaged 30.6 points in his last five games. That stretch began with a 34-point effort in a 107-100 home win over Milwaukee (10-12) on Jan. 27. Rose had 30 and 17 assists in a 95-87 victory over the Bucks on March 26, the teams' last meeting at the Bradley Center.
"Every time I step on the court, they're coming at me,'' said Rose, who will start his second straight All-Star game later this month. "I love it where it's a challenge like that. I'm not backing away from it, and I don't want them to back away from it. It's just 'be on' every night.''
The Bulls, who are looking for their third straight win at Milwaukee, have held the Bucks to an average of 84.4 points on 39.6 percent shooting during their five-game winning streak in the overall series.
Though the Bucks are coming off an 88-80 loss at Detroit on Friday, they return home looking for a fourth straight win at the Bradley Center. Milwaukee has averaged 102.7 points during its three-game home winning streak that includes victories over the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami.
For the season, the Bucks are averaging 100.3 points and shooting 46.6 percent while going 7-2 at home, compared to 89.8 per game with a field-goal percentage of 40.7 on the road where they are 3-10.
Milwaukee shot 35.1 percent against the Pistons, leaving coach Scott Skiles extremely unhappy with his team's performance against one of the East's worst teams.
"We were terrible in every aspect of the game," Skiles said. "Our effort was horrible - as bad as I've seen since I've been here - and our execution was very poor on both ends of the floor. We've played two good quarters out of the last eight. The other six have been pitiful."
Brandon Jennings had 20 points at Detroit, and is averaged 23.7 over his last 10 games. Though the third-year point guard scored 25 at Chicago last month, he's averaging 9.3 points on 28.9 percent shooting (13 of 45) in four career home games against the Bulls.