Linguists are still trying to concoct the proper word for the type of destruction the Milwaukee Bucks laid down on the Chicago Bulls tonight in a 95-69 win that was never in doubt all night.
Milwaukee sprinted out to an early 19 point lead by halftime, as the Bucks bench dominated the Bulls in the first half, 22-4 and Milwaukee nailed 54% of its shots compared to Chicago’s 29%. The second half slowed down, but Chicago never got the lead anywhere near single digits, as Giannis finished them off with a dazzling display of assists. Milwaukee wound up 46% shooting on the night, including 10-25 from three, and Chicago settled in at only 31%. Without their significant free throw advantage (8-15 compared to Bucks’ 9-13), the Bulls were toast from the tip.
Giannis nearly managed a triple-double, ending with 22 points, seven rebounds, 11 assists, three steals and a block. Jabari had a quiet but effective 12 points and seven rebounds on only eight shots in only 27 minutes of action. Greg Monroe added 14 points and 12 rebounds, and every Bucks finished with a positive +/- except Thon Maker (-3) *sniffles* who got some garbage time minutes and hit a free throw with two boards.
Chicago’s box score was a ghost town, with Dwayne Wade (5-14) and Bobby Portis (4-8) the only players in double digits. Jimmy Butler only managed seven points on 3-14 shooting, but did scrounge up seven boards and six assists.
Milwaukee started off hot on the fingertips of Giannis, who scored eight points in the opening minutes, including a three, to put the Bucks ahead 18-11. After a Jabari salvo in Giannis’ absence, Antetokounmpo returned to add two quick assists. One was an easy flick to Monroe and he found Teletovic for a three after a sequence that could’ve seen at least four different Bucks shoot on open looks. Milwaukee ended the first quarter on a 19-6 run and left leading 34-15. Giannis looked just as dominating, with 10 points, three rebounds and four assists in the period.
The Bucks’ snappy ball movement continued in the second, with a Mirza three and Giannis pull-up three advancing the Bucks lead to 40-17. Jabari Parker added his own set of smooth moves in transition, canning several easy finishes by simply outrunning and outmaneuvering Bulls defenders. Milwaukee went into halftime leading 56-37 in a game that never felt competitive.
Chicago didn’t mount any defense, as Butler struggled with three personal fouls in the half and Wade scored only nine on 4-11 shooting. Giannis had 16 points, four rebounds and six assists with Jabari at an effortless 10 points and four rebounds. The Bucks’ bench mob bullied Chicago’s, outscoring them 22-4 in the half with Milwaukee at 54% shooting overall and Chicago at a chilling 29%.
The Bucks came out jamming after the half, with Giannis shoveling an underhand scoop lob to Henson and then a Jabari runout jam pushing the lead to 66-39 partway through the third. Tony Snell started his revenge game in earnest soon after, dropping two threes to get Milwaukee up 72-44. Chicago moseyed their way back, but the Bucks maintained a 74-52 lead as the fourth quarter started.
The fourth quarter was merely a coronation. Giannis threaded passes all over the court to Monroe and a spry, streaking Teletovic for a dunk. Then, he capped it off with this play straight out of NBA Street to make it 89-64:
Milwaukee went with the scrubs to end it, with Thon and Rashad Vaughn on court for the final few minutes. Thon hit a free throw and pulled down two boards in the closing minutes as the Bucks walked off the court resounding winners, 95-69, as a chorus of sweet, sweet boos rained down upon the home squad.
- Jabari’s had some stylish passes of late, and he tried an underhand, backwards pass to Henson as he barreled to the hoop. John promptly fumbled the ball out of bounds and flashed his “aw shucks” mug. Here it is:
Henson really has to stop dropping Jabari's best passeshttps://t.co/YL6Y2YC8lt— Behind the Buck Pass (@BehindTheBucks) December 17, 2016
- The Bucks managed to hold the Bulls and their league best offensive rebounding rate to only six offensive boards last night, but that rocketed back to earth tonight. The Bulls had 13 offensive boards in the first half alone, finishing with 19, and Robin Lopez and Taj Gibson wrecked the Bucks rebounding bigs down low.
- Giannis hit a pull-up three-pointer in the face of Doug McDermott in the second quarter, and hasn’t shown any hesitation in trying to can jumpers in dude’s faces lately. Ya, I’d say he’s feeling pretty good right now.
- The Bucks ball movement looked iceberg lettuce crisp tonight. They were regularly making extra passes, using pump fakes to open up passing lanes to the perimeter and generally finding the right guy in the halfcourt. Shooting adeptly from three makes that ball movement look even prettier, but nailing those shots also started to open up swift passes for Bucks players down in the paint too.
- John Henson shot a jumper in the third quarter tonight. There’s never really a good night for a Henson jumper, but I guess up by 20+ against your nominal rivals is as good a time as any.
- Giannis had two picture perfect wraparound passes to Greg Monroe underneath the basket after being isolated against Bulls bigs in the fourth. After Monroe biffed the first attempt, Milwaukee retained possession and Giannis went right back to work, this time against Cristiano Felicio. Moose paid him back with the finish. Giannis’ numbers on isolation plays are still pretty terrible — he’s only in the 33rd percentile for iso scoring — so using his shakiness and insane length to find other Bucks for good looks seems like a decent solution in the interim.
- The Bucks ran out a Brogdon-Vaughn-Terry-Teletovic-Plumlee lineup in garbage time, and Teletovic even managed to get a dunk out of it. They played for only a minute though, as Thon Maker replaced Terry.
- The Bucks are off until next Tuesday night when they take on the Cleveland Cavaliers back in Milwaukee.