Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks Battle Out The Game Of The Week.[caption id="attachment_13489" align="aligncenter" width="620"] Photo Credit: Getty Images[/caption] 2012 is now over, many teams will be looking for 2013 to be a better year for them. The two teams battling out this week's game of the week, Milwaukee and Chicago, would be looking for 2013 to bring more consistency. So let's take a look at this match up.
GAME TIME & VIEWING OPTIONS:Time & Date: Thursday, January 10, 2013 12:00pm AEDT Location: United Centre, Chicago. Viewing Info: NBA League Pass (see our TV Guide for full info)
FORM HEADING IN:Chicago: 18-13 It is hard to completely judge the Bulls until their star Derrick Rose is back on the court. Until that time comes we have to judge them with the players what they have at their disposal. Chicago have done a great job considering the absences they have to deal with. Players have stepped when they have been needed most. Marco Belinelli and Nate Robinson have done well as starters when called upon. Their latest match was against Miami, they came out on top 96-89. Carlos Boozer was the star the Bulls pouring in 27 points and 12 rebounds. Milwaukee: 16-16 Milwaukee has been one of the most inconsistent teams in the NBA. One night they smash Miami, then lose to Detroit the next. If Milwaukee can find the consistency that they need, they will quickly become a real Playoff threat. Their last match resulted in a loss to Indiana, which saw Roy Hibbert dominate for the Pacers, posting an impressive stat line of 20 points, 15 rebounds and 5 blocks.
MATCH UP OF THE NIGHT:The match up at the centre position, at first glance might look to favour Chicago. But if you take a closer look this battle could be very tightly contested. Joakim Noah and Larry Sanders will be going at it for the majority of the night. Joakim Noah is having the best season of his career. In the absence of D-Rose, Noah has stepped up as much as any player. He is the cornerstone of the defence and in many ways the offence. Noah is averaging career highs in points (12.8), blocks (2), steals (1.4) and most impressively assists (4.4). He is still bringing down rebounds well above his career average at 10.4 per game. Larry Sanders by no means is a star in the NBA, but he is certainly a very important player for the Bucks playoff hopes. After the Bucks traded away their best rebounder and shot blocker in Andrew Bogut last year, they needed someone to fill the hole, enter Larry Sanders. The second year player is by far the best rebounder on the team, averaging 8.2 rebounds. No other player on the team is averaging more than 6 rebounds. Sanders is also averaging a fantastic 3 blocks per game. Both these players are most important to their respective team on the defensive end and it will be great to see these two battling for rebounds and blocks. If Sanders can play tight defence on Noah, it will be a huge help for the Bucks chances. Sanders will need to try to curb Noah's passing and pick and roll involvements.
BENCH BATTLE:Both teams have very important players coming off the bench. It will be interesting to see if one bench can stamp their authority. Nate Robinson has had an interesting season with the Bulls. He has been a great back up guard in the absence of Rose and also when Richard Hamilton went down with injury. There were rumours flying around last month that Robinson would be waived before the deadline, but nothing came of it, which was a relief for many Chicago fans. Robinson is a hugely popular player at Chicago. Robinson is averaging 11 points, 2 rebounds and 3.5 assists. Mike Dunleavy has been somewhat of a surprise packet for the Bucks this season. He is having a solid season at the small forward position. Dunleavy is a great long range threat, averaging almost two 3 pointers a game, along with his shooting prowess he adds 4.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. Marco Belinelli has started 12 games for the Bulls, but now with Hamilton back from injury he is back to his usual role of coming off the bench. Belinelli has had some great games, when he was thrust into the starting line up he proved he could score and pass a good rates. Belinelli is averaging almost 10 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist per outing. Marquis Daniels has been a great pick up for the Bucks since crossing from the Celtics in the off season. Daniels has proved to be a good all round player, averaging a very solid 7 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal per game. Daniels' stats may not pop out at you but he is a great team player and provides a huge amount of energy off the bench for this Bucks outfit.
PREDICTED STARTING LINE UPS:Chicago Bulls:
- Point guard: Kirk Hinrich
- Shooting guard: Richard Hamilton
- Small forward: Luol Deng
- Power forward: Carlos Boozer
- Centre: Joakim Noah
- Point guard: Brandon Jennings
- Shooting guard: Monta Ellis
- Small forward: Ekpe Udoh
- Power forward: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
- Centre: Larry Sanders