For the first time in four years, the Bucks have successfully defended their home court against the Chicago Bulls, winning tonight in a thrilling fashion, 95-91.
Milwaukee struggled to score through most of the first half (40.4 percent shooting), but were kept afloat by Michael Carter-Williams, who scored 15 straight points in the second quarter. It did come on 13 shots, but his mismatch against Aaron Brooks--one that was frequently utilized in the post--was there for the taking, and MCW did a good job of seizing that opportunity.
The Bulls weren't effective on offense in the first half, either. Jimmy Butler led the way with 15p/5r with Taj Gibson right behind him with 10p. The Bucks did technically outscore the Bulls in the paint in the first half (26-24), but Chicago was converting at 67 percent clip in there, compared to 50 percent by the Bucks. Fortunately for Milwaukee, neither Pau Gasol (8p/4a) nor Joakim Noah (0p/3r) were able to add to the damage down low in the first half, which played a huge factor in the game being tied at the break.
Things got pretty tense in the second half. Technicals were assessed, a few players got injured, multiple scrums for the ball happened, visiting and home fans were getting into it, etc. Needles to say, the game really picked up by the final frame.
Jimmy Butler and Khris Middleton traded several buckets midway through the fourth quarter. For Middleton, he got hot at the right time. He was 2-12 from the field heading into the fourth quarter, but was a perfect 3-3 when it counted, his last bucket putting the Bucks up for good with 3:30 left in the game.
That doesn't mean the Bulls didn't have some great opportunities, though. The Bucks turned the ball over on their next two possessions (numbers 17 and 18 on the night), but the Bulls were only able to cash in on one of them, keeping them at bay.
One fantastic block from Giannis on a layup attempt from E'Twaun Moore and a few close but unsuccessful Bulls triple attempts later, and the Bucks found themselves on the winning end. MCW led the way with 21p/10r, with Ersan Ilyasova (16p/4r) and Giannis (11p/7r) right behind him.
-- Like I mentioned earlier, this was the first Bucks home win against the Bulls since 2011. They had dropped their previous nine contests. The win also prevented the Bulls from sweeping the season series for the third time in the past five seasons. Please join me in a big sigh of relief.
-- The Bucks held their opponent under 95 points for the 33rd time tonight. In those games, they are 27-6, and 16-3 at home. So yeah, defense is kind of important.
-- This was probably MCW's best/least problematic/least controversial game as a member of the Bucks. He took 19 shots, but it felt like he was in control for most of the night despite four turnovers and just two assists. Only one of his shots came significantly outside of the paint. That's pretty pleasant, isn't it?
-- A great Giannis block helped seal the team's victory, but he also had a breakaway swat in the first half that was unfortunately called back on a questionable goaltending call.
That is a thing of beauty. I don't understand why the refs had to be jerks and take some of the shine off of it.
-- We mentioned the Bulls missed threes earlier in the recap as well. On the night they went 5-26 from beyond the arc. That is the second lowest percentage the team has allowed since January 7th against the Sixers (2-25).
-- In case you missed it, the Bucks unveiled the team's future colors during halftime. We wrote a little something about it if you wanted some more info, and here is a more visual color palette for those who need it.
Video still + the color scheme from the Bucks branding teaser video (cc @sportslogosnet @UniWatch @PhilHecken): pic.twitter.com/wAudblzJ79— Conrad Burry (@conradburry) April 2, 2015