Winning the central this season doesn't look like much of an accomplishment. The Bulls are suddenly quite pedestrian without Derrick Rose while the Pacers look similarly mediocre without Danny Granger. The Bucks presently hold the division lead at 6-5, and the Chicago Bulls can reclaim the top spot with a win tonight.
The Bulls beat the Bucks with their front court. They won largely due to their size advantage, offensive rebounding, points in the paint, and by creating turnovers. They didn't play particularly well on offense. In fact, they played more or less horrifically on offense for most of the night.
However, when they couldn't get a shot to drop, they could get an offensive rebound to follow. Can they repeat the same formula tonight?
I think so.
The Bucks haven't gotten any bigger in the last two days. They're still going to have a huge disadvantage on the glass, and while they might play somewhat better offensively in the rematch, Chicago has plenty of room to shoot the ball better as well.
The match up, which will decide who will hold the top spot in the division, highlights how pathetic the central division is at this very moment and should give plenty of hope to Bulls fans that they can still win this division. If they do, the worst they can finish in the playoff seedings is 5th (technically 4th, but if the 5th seed gets home court over the 4th then aren't you really 5th in actuality?).
The interesting thing about that is the Bulls might be better served finishing second in the division and in the 6th/7th spot overall in order to avoid Miami until the conference finals [assuming Miami finishes #1 which isn't a given].
Back to the Bucks, the keys to the game are simple. We just saw them play out on Saturday.
1: Use your side advantage to dominate the glass.
2: Play solid defense
3: Throw up enough shots that a few have to go in.
When two mediocre teams play each other in back to back games, the odds say that they split them and go 1-1, but I think the Bulls find a way to pull this one out. As long as the Bulls play aggressively and with energy, Milwaukee can't combat their size, and despite playing poorly in many facets the Bulls still won the last one.
Chicago has more headroom to improve their play than Milwaukee does IMO, I give Chicago about a 70% chance of winning this one.