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Parker returns to Milwaukee as Bucks host Bulls

According to STATS
According to STATS

Chicago Bulls at Milwaukee Bucks

  1. The road team has won the last seven meetings between the Bulls and Bucks, the longest active streak of its kind in any NBA series. Milwaukee's last home win over the Bulls came in December 2016.
  2. Milwaukee is 3-4 in its last seven games after opening the season 7-0. The Bucks still have the NBA's best average scoring differential at +10.9 points per game, scoring 121.0 per game while allowing 110.1.
  3. Over their last six games, the Bulls are averaging 96.8 points and shooting 28.5 percent from three-point range. In their first nine games, they averaged 109.3 points on 39.6 percent three-point shooting.
  4. After scoring 20+ points in each of his first 14 games this season -- the longest streak by a Bull to start a season since Michael Jordan in 1988-89 (16) -- Zach LaVine was held to 10 in Wednesday's 111-82 loss at Boston.
  5. LaVine (25.9 ppg) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (25.8) are two of four Eastern Conference players averaging at least 25.0 points per game, along with Joel Embiid (27.6) and Kemba Walker (26.4). Antetokounmpo is the only NBA player averaging at least 25.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists.
  6. Khris Middleton has made at least two three-pointers in all 14 games this season. That's the longest active streak in the NBA, and tied for the second-longest such streak in franchise history (at any point in a season); Ray Allen made multiple three-pointers in 17 straight games ending in March 2002.

MILWAUKEE -- Jabari Parker returns to Milwaukee on Friday night when the Chicago Bulls take on the Bucks in a nationally televised contest on ESPN.

Parker, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 draft, was expected to combine with Giannis Antetokounmpo to form the cornerstone of a Bucks team looking to rise out of mediocrity and return to relevance in the Eastern Conference.

Instead, Parker spent most of his first four NBA seasons watching from the sidelines thanks to a pair of season-ending ACL injuries that limited him to 183 games.

While he spent time rehabbing those injuries, Milwaukee parted ways with the 6-foot, 8-inch forward last summer, rescinding their $4.3 million qualifying offer so Parker could sign a two-year, $40 million contract with the Bulls, his hometown team.

Parker began the season coming off coach Fred Hoiberg's bench moved into the starting lineup for an Oct. 31 game against the Nuggets in place Chandler Hutchison. He's been a starter since and comes to Milwaukee averaging 14.9 points on 43.8 percent shooting with 6.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists over his last seven games.

The numbers are good, but they haven't done much to change the Bulls' fortunes. Chicago brings a 4-11 record into its first meeting this season with the Bucks, who lead the Central Division with a 10-4 mark.

Still, Parker said he has no hard feelings over the way things went.

"Those are my guys," Parker said. "I love to see them do well. I'm happy for them. It's very good."

Parker's former teammates will be looking to bounce back after a 116-113 loss to Memphis on Wednesday. The league's top-scoring team coming into the game was held to 19 points in the opening quarter and shot 34.1 percent in the first half -- including a 4-for-23 showing from beyond the arc. The Bucks rallied and took an eight-point lead early in the fourth before fading down the stretch in their first home loss of the season.

"I think we could've played with more energy, and could have done better executing," Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said.

It was just the latest uneven performance for a team that's been spinning its wheels after a red-hot start to the season. Milwaukee won it's first seven games in impressive fashion but has alternated losses and victories since, which has left Budenholzer admittedly puzzled.

"That's been on my mind a little bit," he said after a Thursday morning practice session. "We obviously need to continue that cycle for one more game and then break it. Just that attention to detail, that focus every day, I think those are the things that are going to get you over the top where you can start stringing together success and feeling good."

The Bucks are in good position to turn things around against Chicago, a team they've beaten in each of the last two meetings, but also as they play the second contest of a season-long six game homestand.

"We've just got to stay focused, stay locked in as a team," Antetokounmpo said. "We've been winning, losing, winning, losing, but I think overall we've had a great season. But we can do better. We can do a lot better."

Updated November 15, 2018

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