NBA on Sling: Butler's Bulls Square Off Against Antetokounmpo's Bucks; Knicks Face Big Test With Warriors

Dec 15, 2016 by Sling Staff

Chicago Bulls (13-11) vs Milwaukee Bucks (11-12)
8pm ET on TNT

The Chicago Bulls spit the bit on Tuesday, blowing a 21-point 2nd-quarter lead en route to a 99-94 defeat at the hands of the Minnesota Timberwolves. After several second-half lead changes the game was knotted at 91-91, but later, with Minnesota up 4, Dwyane Wade drove the lane only to be rejected by Zach LaVine, and Wade expressed his frustration in such a manner that earned his a pair of technicals and an ejection. Chicago’s Jay Butler fouled LaVine and the play, and after Ricky Rubio sank both technical, LaVine sank his freebies and the game as essentially over. Jimmy Butler had a game-high 27, with 9 rebounds and 6 assists, but Wade had an off night, scoring just 12 on 4-of-13 shooting, and Chicago got only 23 points from its bench. The Bulls continue to be plagued by terrible 3-point shooting, making just 25.8% over their last 12 games and falling to last in the league on the season at 30.8%. The Bulls were without Rajon Rondo, and may be again tonight.

Monday’s 122-100 loss to the Toronto Raptors was the Milwaukee Bucks’ third defeat in a row, as they got outscored by 11 in the 1st quarter, 10 in the 2nd, and never really made a game of it. But don’t blame Giannis Antetokounmpo, who dropped 30 on 13-of-23 shooting with 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals, and Jabari Parker, who scored 27 on 11-of-17 shooting. That’s basically been the story of the Bucks’ season, thus far, as Antetokounmpo leads the team with 22.3 ppg, Parker is second with 19.4, and no one else on the team is managing as much as 9. The Bucks seem to be one piece away from being a legit threat to make the playoffs, maybe they should spend a little money.

New York Knicks (14-11) vs Golden State Warriors (22-4)
10:30pm ET on TNT

When Kyle O'Quinn’s 77-foot desperation heave at the buzzer was blocked by Tyson Chandler, the Knicks’ 113-111 overtime loss to the Phoenix Suns was in the books, wasting a 34-point effort from Kristaps Porzingis. Carmelo Anthony, meanwhile, struggled through an ugly game, scoring 13 on 3-of-15 shooting, though he did hit 7 of 8 from the line. Still and all, this season has to be considered a success, given the continued development of Porzingis, who’s averaging 20.6 ppg and 7.7 rpg, while draining 40% of his 3-point attempts and blocking 2 shot a game. But Knicks fans may be getting nervous about the health of the notoriously injury-prone Derrick Rose, who had to leave the game against the Suns with back spasms, after missing two games last week, and remains a question mark for tonight.

Being short a point guard is no way to go into battle with the Golden State Warriors, who on Tuesday defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 113-109. The Pelicans led most of the first half, taking a 65-58 lead into the locker room, but halfway through the 3rd quarter, the Warriors pulled even at 74-74 on a Kevin Durant free throw. A 20-footer by Steph Curry (30-4-7) put Golden State up 109-18 with 3:14 to play marked the twelfth and final lead change of the second half, and seconds later, Klay Thompson would block a shot by Anthony Davis (28-8-3, 5 blocks). With 35 seconds to play, Davis would be blocked again, this time in spectacular fashion by Kevin Durant(27-3-3). Finally, with 2 seconds to play and down 111-109, and Davis backing down on the post, Draymond Green (12-12-10) stripped him of the ball, and that was that. A day later the league would concede that Green had fouled Davis, but it was too late to matter. It’s hard enough for a team like the Pelicans to take on a powerhouse like the Warriors without getting stiffed by the refs.

Watch the Bulls vs Bucks at 8pm, followed by Knicks vs Warriors at 10:30pm ET Thursday on TNT by subscribing to Sling

All stats courtesy ESPN and Basketball Reference.

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