Considering the opponent and venue, Wednesday might have been the best the Bulls have played for a 48-minute stretch all year.

They were a 14-point underdog in Milwaukee against a Bucks team that was 10-2 at home, and they actually led with 1:48 remaining.

The Bucks closed on a 7-2 run, including a Khris Middleton 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds left, and sent the Bulls to their fourth straight loss.

But even in a loss, there were a handful of positives to take. Here are four observations from the contest, including an important update that happened earlier in the afternoon.

Ryan Arcidiacono has a second straight career night

There wasn't a debate about the backup point guard position, but Ryan Arcidiacono silenced any final critics with another stellar performance. He matched the 22 points he scored Monday against San Antonio with 22 more against the Bucks, doing his damage on 6 of 12 shooting with five 3-pointers and five made free throws. He also added five steals, four assists and didn't turn the ball over in 38 minutes.

He was active on both ends, pushed pace and looked comfortable all night. He's far and away the second best point guard on the team behind Kris Dunn, and there's no question as to who will back him up once he returns from his sprained knee.

The real competition might be who remains on the roster once Dunn is back. Shaq Harrison provided more solid defense but went 0-for-2 and has now missed his last 17 field goal attempts dating back to the final minute of the Phoenix game. Cam Payne had seven points and two assists in 17 minutes.

 

Jabari Parker continues to fill up the box score

His contribtions to the team can be questioned, and his defense isn't going to remind anyone of Scottie Pippen, but Jabari Parker is producing.

He was a menace against his old team once again, scoring 24 points and adding eight rebounds and five assists in 33 minutes. He was just 9 of 21 from the field but there's no denying he's making an impact, especially on a Bulls team desperate for scorers.

He was a team-best +7 and got to the free throw lines seven times. In his last seven games, Parker is averaging 20.7 points on 48 percent shooting and 8.9 rebounds. Those boards have been critical in the wake of Wendell Carter's continued foul trouble (he's averaging 5.4 fouls in his last five games), and it gives optimism that he'll transition well to the second unit when Lauri Markkanen returns.

After a rough beginning the arrow is pointing up on Parker. He's still making a few head-scratching plays, but it's been more good than bad of late.

Good news off the court: Lauri Markkanen will practice again tomorrow

Now to the real news. Lauri Markkanen spoke on Wednesday morning and said he felt a little sore but had no additional pain after his first contact practice in 60 days.

The plan, he told reporters, is to practice again tomorrow in Detroit as the Bulls prepare for the Pistons. Markkanen obviously won't play in that game, and is still likely a week away, but it's another good sign that he made it through that first practice.

Kris Dunn and Bobby Portis might not be far behind, Fred Hoiberg told reporters. Both players looked good in the non-contact portions of practice and should be on the same timeline as Markkanen was. That would put their return to game action about two weeks away. The Bulls are going through a wildly difficult stretch on the schedule but should be back to full-strength for the tail end of it. 

Justin Holiday's trade market may have been set

Justin Holiday couldn't keep his hot stretch going Wednesday in Milwaukee, going 2 of 10 from beyond the arc with 8 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in 41 minutes.

It's unfortunate timing as reports came out last night that the Houston Rockets are looking for a wing, and are interested in Holiday. One game certainly won't plummet his trade stock, but it'd be nice if he could string together a couple games in a row to increase his value.

It's not even November but the trade market might be ready to heat up. The Cleveland Cavaliers sent Kyle Korver to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday for Alec Burks and a pair of second-round picks. 

That should be a benchmark for what the Bulls should be looking for in a deal with Holiday, who will be a free agent in July.