For the second consecutive game, the Milwaukee Bucks have suffered defeat in a game that they should’ve won. However, this one was an even tougher pill to swallow. Disbelief, embarrassment, and confusion were rampant as the Bucks fell to the lowly Bulls at home, 115-109.
Immediately after the ball was tipped, the Bulls seemed to be in a higher gear than Milwaukee. I know everyone’s sick of Jason Kidd’s energy and effort comments (and I am in no way justifying them), but it was clear that the Bulls exploited Milwaukee in that department to start the action. Though it resulted in Chicago only up a point at the break, the deficit felt like 20 points.
It always felt as if the Bucks were going to go on a 10-0 run or something similar, but that point never came. I mean, it’s the Bulls, for crying out loud. You’d be crazy not to anticipate a run at some point in time. However, strong offensive rebounding led to second chance efforts for Chicago, which then culminated in the crumbling of the Milwaukee defense. It was wash, rinse, and repeat -- all night long.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton provided the bulk of the offense for the Bucks. Both scored 29 points apiece. Eric Bledsoe was held in check by the Chicago guards, as he only poured in 12 points. Ironically enough, the two Bulls that caused the most trouble were Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis. The Spaniard finished with 22 points and Portis contributed with a career high 27 off the bench.
Three Main Observations
The offensive rebounding for Chicago was the biggest factor in the game.
The second quarter is when I first began to notice how many second chance opportunities the Bulls were receiving. However, when I decided to look up the offensive rebound percentage, it was way worse than I thought it would be (at this point in time, it was 32.2 percent). When it was all said and done, Chicago posted a monstrous 29.2 percent in the offensive rebounding category. Yeah, that’s not getting it done. I’m not saying that the Bucks have to go out and trade for DeAndre Jordan (in fact, I’m quite against that), but man, I’d love to have a beefed up Thon Maker. Robin Lopez was getting his way against he and John Henson all night, and it wasn’t really that close.
Rashad Vaughn received a bulk of minutes tonight — including down the stretch.
The Rashad Vaughn Experiment has been gaining traction in recent games, and this one may have been the leader in crucial minutes played. Unfortunately, he didn’t capitalize on it as much as one would’ve hoped, going 3-of-10 from the floor. A majority of his attempts featured him being wide open, which makes his inefficiency that much more frustrating. When he’s struggling that much, you can sign me up to give Sterling Brown some more minutes. He saw some brief action tonight, and held his own out there. It’ll be interesting to see how he’s implemented in the upcoming games.
A productive bench is at the top of my Christmas list.
Oh, please make it happen, Santa! With Tony Snell and Jason Terry sidelined due to injuries, it was uphill climbing for Milwaukee’s pine. Thon Maker could never establish a consistent groove on offense nor defense, and it didn’t get much better as you look at the rest of the substitutes. Malcolm Brogdon had an off game, concluding his night with six points on 0-for-4 3-point shooting. Obviously, poor bench production has been a troubling pattern as of late. However, when you’re playing the Bulls, it can’t be used as an excuse. Obviously it was a drawback, but man, you have to win these games. Just killer.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- I talked briefly about his troubles in the rebounding department of tonight’s game, but there was a positive asset to John Henson’s game early on. He had some impressive handles that earned some ooh’s and ah’s from the crowd. It’s always fun to watch a seven-footer with some strong handiwork.
- DeAndre Liggins started off so good with the Bucks this season. The intensity he provided on defense worked wonders on opposing players, but lately, that effectiveness has washed off. Tonight, the Kentucky product failed to score a single point, which, as you might expect, wasn’t ideal for his plus-minus (-11, for the curious ones). Moving forward, he’s going to need to pick up his production rate, especially the longer Tony Snell is sidelined.
- SO. MANY. FOULS. At numerous points throughout the night, it really did seem as if the whistle was blown every Bulls possession. That’ll definitely be something the Bucks need to shore up against the upper-echelon teams of this league. If the Bulls can exploit their defense like that, imagine what the Cavs will be able to do.
- Ugh. I’ve now been reminded at just how annoying Bulls fans are. I was walking out of the arena and I saw a Bulls fan with his head out a car window, yelling at how Giannis is overrated. I don’t miss their team being good.
- I don’t even want to think of the bloodbath that’s going to occur in Houston. It honestly scares me. But hey, anything can happen in the NBA, right...?