Bulls

Bucks heading home with confidence: 'Now it's our turn'

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Bucks heading home with confidence: 'Now it's our turn'

The Milwaukee Bucks are 0-16 all-time in playoff series in which they lose the first two games. But these Bucks are determined to break that streak.

They find themselves in this situation after dropping Game 2 on Monday, two days after a 12-point loss in the series opener.

But despite returning to Milwaukee without a win, Jason Kidd's group is confident they can replicate the Bulls' home success in Games 3 and 4.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

"Hell yeah," said O.J. Mayo, when asked if they still believe they can stay competitive. "It’s a playoff series. (The Bulls) did what they were supposed to do. They got home court advantage, they won two games. Go back to Milwaukee and we’ve got to take care of business.

"We tried to come in here and steal one and they protected home. Now it’s our turn."

They still have obvious kinks to work out, specifically better ball movement, but they leave Chicago on somewhat of a high note, being within two possessions late in their Game 2 loss after playing even with the Bulls through a half in Game 1. In the first two games, they forced the Bulls into 34 turnovers, limited All-Star Pau Gasol with suffocating double-teams and, for a team with four core players making their playoff debuts, got their first taste of postseason basketball.

They posted a 23-18 home record in the regular season, including a 95-91 win over the Bulls on April 1. Derrick Rose hadn't yet returned from knee surgery in that contest, but the Bucks owned the glass in that game, got positive contributions from Michael Carter-Williams (21 points) and Mayo (13 points) and closed with a strong fourth quarter to earn the victory.

[RELATED: Bucks get physical in attempt to swing series vs. Bulls]

That win was a learning experience, as were Games 1 and 2 in this series. Leading scorer Khris Middleton said after the game that the Bucks were noticeably better on Monday than they were on Saturday, and that he expected that to continue in Game 3.

"We lost these two, but we're going to fight to get this series back," he said. "We're going to defend our home court on Thursday."

Report: Bulls will sign Summer League standout Antonio Blakeney to two-year deal

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USA TODAY

Report: Bulls will sign Summer League standout Antonio Blakeney to two-year deal

Antonio Blakeney's past 12 months have landed him a permanent spot on the Bulls, according to Yahoo Sports' Shams Charania.

The signing comes as little surprise for a number of reasons, beginning with Blakeney's play.

He was named the G-League Rookie of the Year after averaging 32.0 points per game for the Windy City Bulls last season. He then fared well alonside Wendell Carter Jr. in the Las Vegas Summer League, averaging 21.0 points on 40 percent shooting, 4.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists in five games.

Blakeney, playing on a two-way contract, had a cup of coffee with the Bulls in 2017, averaging 7.9 points on 37 percent shooting in 19 games. He scored a career-high 16 points on two different occasions.

He'll likely take the spot left vacant by wing David Nwaba, a player whose qualifying offer from the Bulls was rescinded in order to free up more cap space to sign Jabari Parker.

Blakeney will battle with Denzel Valentine, Justin Holiday and Chandler Hutchison for minutes on the second unit.

Jabari Parker defends Derrick Rose's legacy in introductory press conference: 'A legend, no matter what'

Jabari Parker defends Derrick Rose's legacy in introductory press conference: 'A legend, no matter what'

Chicago basketball is a brotherhood. Jabari Parker made that much clear during his introductory press conference on Wednesday at the United Center atrium.

When asked by a reporter about what the Chicago native and Simeon alum thought about the "rise and fall" of Derrick Rose's NBA career, Parker took a hard stance defending the former league MVP.

"Derrick had no lows. He didn't, because he still maintained. Derrick is a legend, no matter. I don't like how you explained that," Parker said.

"Injuries is a part of life. Everybody has an injury, either athletics or normal life. But Derrick is one of the best players to ever play the game and one of the best icons in Chicago. So, he accomplished his duty already."

Parker and Rose have more than just Simeon basketball and a Chicago upbringing in common. Both suffered multiple knee injuries early in their careers - Rose's infamous ACL tear in the 2012 playoffs and subsequent MCL tears; Parker tore his ACL in both his rookie and third NBA seasons with the Bucks. - and battled back through them.

And now they both have ties to the Bulls.

Last week Parker agreed to a two-year, $40 million deal with his hometown team. He'll join a young core including Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and Wendell Carter Jr. as the Bulls enter Year 2 of their rebuild.

Parker wasn't the only one to stick up for Rose.