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Milwaukee vs. Chicago, Bucks Defeat Bulls, 118-105

Milwaukee Bucks get past Chicago Bulls 118-105 in a Friday night matchup at the United Center

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Chicago Bulls David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

After a rough start to the game that probably scared most Bucks fans, Milwaukee ended up beating the Chicago Bulls by a score of 118-105 at the United Center in the Friday night matchup.

That first quarter scare came due to the woes of the Bucks defense as they just let Cameron Payne and Bobby Portis do whatever they wanted on offense. Payne was able to make his way to the rim as an on-ball driver while Portis got open looks from mid-range and perimeter. The Bucks defensive struggles pushed the Bulls to maintain a 34-24 lead after the 1st quarter.

Fortunately, that luck changed in the 2nd quarter as the Bucks were able to lock the Bulls down on defense, as they held them to shoot 40% from the field. Meanwhile, Milwaukee’s offensive kicked into high gear thanks to the play of unsung heroes in Shabazz Muhammad and Brandon Jennings. In just one quarter, that duo combined to score 19 of the team’s 37 2nd quarter points. Their great play elevated Milwaukee to tie Chicago at 61-61 as they entered halftime.

Luckily for the Bucks, their bench unit continued to thrive at the start of the 2nd half as Muhammad and Tony Snell helped push the team to that 3rd quarter lead. In addition to that duo’s offensive attack, the Bucks continued to shut down the Bulls as they held them to shoot an atrocious 32% from the field.

That great Bucks maintained itself during the 4th quarter as they just prevented Chicago getting anything from inside the paint. In addition to that, their pick-and-defense was also fantastic as it pushed the young Bulls backcourt to get uncomfortable which ultimately led to some turnovers. Milwaukee’s great 2nd half play pushed the Bucks to a 118-105 win over the Bulls

The Bucks bench led the way for the team as they scored 70 of their 118 points. Shabazz Muhammad was the leader of that 2nd unit attack as he had a season-high 21 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists on 9-12 from the field and 2-2 from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, Tony Snell was perfect as he had 18 points on 6-6 from field, 4-4 from 3 and 2-2 from the FT line. As has been the case this year, Denzel Valentine was a problem for the Bucks as he had a team-high 20 points on 7-13 from field, 4-7 from 3 and 2-2 from the FT line.

Three Observations

This game was really weird but also kinda awesome

In a game where most Bucks fans had their eyes glued to Jabari Parker to see how he’d step up in the Greek Freak’s absence. However, what actually happened was the trio of Shabazz Muhammad, Brandon Jennings and Tony Snell leading the team to victory as they combined to score 55 of the team’s 118 points. While Snell has been a reliable weapon since last season, both Jennings and Muhammad weren’t even on the Bucks roster when the month began.

Sure, this was a late March matchup against a Bulls team that’s probably more focused on trying to get a good pick in June’s Draft than winning games. However, wins have been hard to come by for the Bucks recently so it would be a good idea to tip your cap to that trio.

Great shot selection from Milwaukee

Dating back to the Jason Kidd days, the team has maintained a bad reputation among Bucks fans due to their over-reliance on mid-range jumpers. Considering the copious amount of close games that the Bucks have lost, that singular flaw probably pushed the Bucks to more losses than should actually have. Thankfully, that offensive flaw went away tonight as they shot 50% from beyond the arc with 30 perimeter attempts.

Considering that the Bucks are currently averaging 24 perimeter attempts per game, that total against Chicago should seem like a step in the right direction. Will it though? I’m not getting my hopes up.

I hate that the Bucks don’t have Bobby Portis

Considering how Rashad Vaughn’s run with the Bucks ended up, I think that most Bucks look at that 2015 NBA Draft with a sense of anger. That upset nature gets even worse whenever I watch somebody like Bobby Portis shine with the Bulls considering how he’s been fantastic this year with the Chicago Bulls.

This year, he’s averaging 13.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game on 47% from the field and 35% from beyond the arc. For a 6’11 big, its impressive that Portis is able to shine in a variety of areas from facilitating, rebounding to perimeter shooting. Considering how the Bucks front-court has been over the last few years, a player with those abilities would be an amazing fit and would pay immediate dividends. However, we decided to take Vaughn with the 17th pick in that draft despite Portis being on the board.

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • SHABAZZ MUHAMMAD! At least for one night, Muhammad was a hero for the Bucks as he was just fantastic from the moment that he first came on the court in the 1st quarter From hitting perimeter jumpers to building a nice connection to Brandon Jennings. Also, he seems extremely willing to crash the glass and even dish it off to teammates, which he didn’t really do when he was with Minnesota. For someone that’s probably fighting for his NBA future right now, Muhammad has been really solid in the last few games.
  • Alongside Muhammad, Tony Snell was another hero for the Bucks. Dude just flourished with the BUcks new-found willingness to shoot 3’s as he was 4-4 from beyond the arc. In addition to that, he also did some work off-the-dribble which continues to amaze and entertain me.

Milwaukee Bucks✔@BucksTony Snell went PERFECT (6/6 FG, including 4/4 3-PT) from the field tonight!! #FearTheDeer9:59 PM - Mar 23, 20189721 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy

  • JOHN HENSON. HIT. A. 3. POINT. SHOT. WHAT?!?!?! (By the way, I’d definitely put those clapping hands emojis between those words if that’s something that we were capable of doing)
  • After he’s just been on an absolute roll since returning, Jabari Parker had an off-night as he had 6 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds on 3-10 shooting. Aside from an awesome dunk in transition, he just struggled throughout the night. While I might be concerned if this type of effort came in a loss, I’ll just look past it as a typical off-night
  • So.. in the next 6 games, the Bucks play San Antonio, LA Clippers, Golden State, LA Lakers, Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics. I don’t know about you but that stretch of games scares me because we haven’t been that good against solid teams this year.