While the United States soccer team was pummeling Panama and Major League baseball was in full playoff mode, the Milwaukee Bucks were playing their third preseason game down in Chicago to face the Chicago Bulls. Giannis Antetokounmpo returned after missing the first two games due to the passing of his father and instantly the Bucks looked like a much better team than we had seen earlier this week. Giannis set the tone early getting to the hoop for a quick and-one and blocking shots at the rim.
Giannis is back!! pic.twitter.com/tRU9YFdyjK— Behind the Buck Pass (@BehindTheBucks) October 7, 2017
Despite Giannis’ start, Chicago got hot early hitting their first four shots to jump out to a 10-4 lead. Milwaukee would get back into the game and created a back and forth first quarter. Giannis came in later in the quarter to begin his own barrage on Chicago with some step back jumpers and gyro-stepping to the rim. He ended the quarter by pulling up no hesitation and draining a three right at the buzzer to give the Bucks a 27-24 lead at the end of the first and giving him 14 points in the first quarter alone.
The second quarter started and Milwaukee was still holding a lead half way through the quarter, but Chicago’s hot shooting could not end as the Bulls shot 13/21?!?!?!?!?!? from three and gave Chicago a 60-56 lead.
A whistle friendly third quarter saw Milwaukee get good looks, but was unable to convert them. Giannis stayed aggressive playing in the third quarter than most of us initially had thought and was getting to the free throw line. Milwaukee ended the third quarter trailing 77 to 89. The starters made way in the 4th quarter for a lineup of Marshall-Vaughn-Brown-Wilson-Anthony and more of the same as the third quarter with sloppy play, and missing open looks the general theme of the night. The game ended with the final score favoring Chicago 114-101 to put Milwaukee at 0-3 during the preseason. For Milwaukee, Giannis led the way with 24 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists while Khris Middleton had 14 points and Greg Monroe had 10 points and 5 rebounds.
The hot shooting for Chicago benefited Justin Holiday and Denzel Valentine who combined for 10-13 from three. Nikola Mirotic had 15 points and 7 rebounds and Bobby Portis had 15 points and 10 rebounds. Milwaukee closes out the preseason next Friday against the Detroit Pistons in Milwaukee.
Stat the Stood Out
As stated earlier, Chicago shot 13/21 from three in the first half and 17/34 for the game. The Bulls made more three in the first half (13) than Milwaukee attempted (11). Milwaukee has goals of having a top-5 defense this season, but that is not going to happen if the trend of allowing open threes continues.