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Bucks Visit Bulls in Central Showdown

Brandon Jennings and the Milwaukee Bucks will look to score a second straight win over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday evening.

The Milwaukee Bucks travel to the Windy City on Wednesday night for a Central Division showdown with the Chicago Bulls.

Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00 PM ET from the United Center in Chicago, Ill.

With a 108-99 win over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, Milwaukee (17-16, 7-8 road) snapped a four-game losing streak that culminated with the firing of head coach Scott Skiles.

Skiles – a former head coach with the Bulls – was reported to have lost the faith of his locker room and was relieved of his duties on Tuesday.

Assistant coach Jim Boylan will lead the team for the rest of the season, it was announced. Boylan undertook the same task after Skiles was fired in Chicago during the 2007-08 season, tallying a 24-32 record.

The Bucks’ victory over Phoenix – a rare win against Western Conference opposition – was a fine welcome for Boylan, who will now look to lead the side back to the winning ways that were apparent at the start of the season.

Milwaukee currently sits third in the Central Division, behind Indiana and Chicago. More importantly, the Bucks currently own the No. 7 spot in the Eastern Conference, but securing a playoff berth will take wins.

Chicago (19-13, 10-8 home) lost its lead at the top of the Central Division by way of Indiana’s Tuesday night victory over Miami. The Bulls can regain the top spot, and the No. 4 playoff berth, with a win over Milwaukee.

The Bulls come into the game as winners of four of the last five, including three straight. Those three games have seen forward Carlos Boozer – often criticized during his spell with Chicago – step up, averaging 27.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per game. A win over Milwaukee would mark a season-best four-game winning streak.

The Bucks and Bulls have met twice already this season. Chicago won the opening contest 93-86 in Milwaukee on Nov. 24, before Milwaukee scored a 93-92 win two nights later at the United Center.

The Bucks’ win in Chicago snapped a nine-game losing streak against the Bulls. Now the Bucks will look to beat a pair of trends. Firstly, Milwaukee hasn’t won two straight games against Chicago since the 2004-05 season. Secondly, the Bucks have not swept the road portion of a season series against the Bulls since the 2000-01 season.

The Bucks will also need to improve on a 2-6 record in the second game of back-to-back outings, if they’re to get anything out of this encounter.

Milwaukee has lost its last three games against Central Division opposition, after winning five of its first six. The Bulls meanwhile have won three straight Central Division contests, after starting the season 2-2.

Trends certainly seem to favor the Bulls. Unsurprisingly then, Chicago enters the game as favorites with the bookies. The spread opened at six points, but bettors should beware; the Bulls (12-19-1 ATS) have struggled to cover this season. Milwaukee (15-16-1 ATS) has fared slightly better.

The total opened at 186.5 points. Both teams have seen a prevalence for the total going under this season, with Milwaukee (14-18-0 over/under) witnessing more overs than Chicago (12-20-0 over/under).

Chicago has outscored Milwaukee 185-179 in two games this season, giving an average of 182 points per game. If that trend follows, the total going under looks like the smarter bet.

Chicago and Milwaukee will bring their season series to a close on Jan. 30, when the Bulls travel to BMO Harris Bradley Center.

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