No matter what the Bucks did on Monday night, they just couldn't manage to grab the lead from the Bulls. During each of the final three quarters, the Bucks were able to get within a basket of the Bulls, but just couldn't get over the hump and eventually fell 100-90.
The first quarter started off very poorly with the Bucks quickly falling behind 7-0, but they answered with ten unanswered points and looked to be on their way to a back-and-forth battle with the Bulls. Unfortunately, the run didn't get them going and they went scoreless for the next five minutes as Chicago answered with their own 10-0 blitz. Still, they were able to mitigate the damage and trail by "only" nine points, 25-16, heading into the second quarter.
After another restless two minutes to start the quarter, Jason Kidd took a timeout and the Bucks responded with a 9-0 run spearheaded by Jerryd Bayless, who hit a three and assisted on another to Rashad Vaughn. The score remained close until the Bulls closed out the quarter with a 10-4 run to take a seven-point lead into the half.
The Bucks didn't have much going in the third quarter and again went down double digits before Jabari Parker took over late in the quarter. Parker was attacking off the dribble nearly every time he touched the ball in the final few minutes of the period and made a number of impressive plays going to the rim. His late run gave the Bucks a chance going into the fourth, but it would be a chance that they would ultimately squander.
Again, as they did the entire night, the Bucks started the quarter poorly and put themselves down eight early in the period. They were able to fight back and again cut to just two, but couldn't manage to close it out and take a lead. In fact, after losing their 10-9 lead with 6:06 left in the first quarter, the Bucks never led, or even tied, the Bulls the rest of the night. Ultimately, the Bulls closed out the Bucks and won 100-90.
In recent losses, the silver lining has always been ridiculous stat lines from Parker, Antetokounmpo, and Middleton, but their numbers were a little more modest tonight. Antetokounmpo's night wasn't eye-popping, but 12 points, 10 assists, five rebounds, and three steals is still a pretty impressive night for most point guards. In the third quarter, Parker went off for nine points, which helped buoy his 18 point, 11 rebound performance.
The Bucks will get a short rest before getting back into action Wednesday night against the Miami Heat in MIlwaukee. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. CST.
- Rashad Vaughn had not made a three since the Bucks' game against Houston last Monday night. He was 0-for-4 in the three previous games before night.
- Bayless had 20 points on the night with 5-of-8 three point shooting. It was the third time Bayless has had 20 or more points in a game this season.
- Since taking over at point guard on February 9th, Antetokounmpo has recorded 10 or more assists four times in 12 games.
- Jabari Parker made the Bucks' first basket on Monday night. He has done so in each of the last seven games. I don't think this has any importance, but thought it was interesting nonetheless.
- In the first few minutes, Antetokounmpo "Nashed" twice, but it didn't lead to much of anything on either occasion. One of the possessions ended in Antetokounmpo getting his shot blocked on a baseline reverse layup attempt.
- Jerryd Bayless was fantastic for the Bucks against the Bulls. He fueled a 9-0 run that brought the Bucks back into the game and was a steadying influence throughout the game. I think it would make a lot of sense for the Bucks to bring him back next season.
- To add to Frank's critique below, it almost seems like he actively avoids any sort of confrontation in transition at times.
- I mentioned it in our most recent podcast, but the #PointGiannis-led Bucks continue to struggle in the more half-court focused first and fourth quarters. When games are fluid and moving quickly (often the second and third quarters), the Bucks offense looks great. When the game slows down and defenses are more locked in, it can be pretty rough.
- The Bucks have started to use pick and rolls with Antetokounmpo and Parker as the ball handlers more often lately, but they're often difficult to get into because teams don't respect Antetokounmpo's outside shooting. At times, they can disguise the 4-5 pick and roll they run in the middle of the floor in their typical action, but teams are starting to sniff that out. So, the Bucks have to continue to find new ways to get their two young playmakers in pick and rolls. On Monday, that meant using Bayless and O.J. Mayo as screeners.
- I sort of thought any type of tension between Antetokounmpo and Mike Dunleavy Jr. would have dissipated from last season. I was wrong. Those dudes do not like each other.
- Parker had nine points in the third quarter. It wasn't his highest scoring quarter of the season, but it might have been his most intriguing quarter as he scored almost all of his points without the benefit of an assist and managed to draw a couple shooting fouls as well. The next big step for Parker will be creating for himself rather than scoring on looks created by others. It might not be something he does a lot this season, but it will be one of the next major developmental steps for him.
- After playing a season-high 28 minutes against the Houston Rockets, it looked like Miles Plumleewas turning into a real option at center for the Bucks in the future. Since then, his minutes have dipped back down to around 18 minutes a game and he hasn't made as big of an impact in the last few games.
Pound for pound, Jabari might be the most helpless open court defender in the league. No illusion of resistance.â Frank Madden (@brewhoop) March 8, 2016