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It’s Thibs’ Bulls vs. Skiles’ Bucks, the miniseries

Richard HamiltBeno Udrih

Richard Hamilton, Beno Udrih

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Updated: December 26, 2012 9:49AM



MILWAUKEE — It’s not like the Milwaukee Bucks and Bulls don’t know each other well.

They’re in the same division and are a bus ride apart, but a home-and-home series will make them even more familiar with each other.

“In some ways, I think it’s good because that’s sort of what you face down the road when you’re in the playoffs,’’ Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “You’re playing the same opponent over and over.

‘‘You try to take whatever positives you can out of what the circumstances are, and that’s part of the challenge of the NBA. No matter what — early starts, late starts, back-to-backs, home-and-home — just be ready for that challenge.’’

The first-place Bucks were one of those under-the-radar teams at the start of the season as the Bulls and Indiana Pacers got much of the Central Division pub, but Bucks coach Scott Skiles isn’t about to discount either division rival this early in the season.

“Obviously with [Danny] Granger [knee injury] being out for the Pacers, it has an effect on them, but I believe they’re even better without Granger than their record indicates, and I think the Bulls are better, too,’’ said Skiles, who coached the Bulls from Nov. 28, 2003, to Dec. 24, 2007.

When asked about his optimism for the Bulls, Skiles said, “I’ve been around some of those guys. I just think they’re good players.

“Their bench is different, but I think they’ll get that worked out. They’ll hit a stride at some point.’’

Around the rim

Guard Richard Hamilton, who seemed frustrated in the loss Wednesday against the Houston Rockets (2-for-10, four points, 17 minutes), was 6-for-12 for 18 points in his first 17 minutes Saturday against the Bucks.

◆ Forward Luol Deng entered the game leading the league in minutes, averaging 40.4 per game.



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