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Milwaukee vs. Chicago: Bucks Bully Bulls, 123-102

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Nothing like ending 2019 on a high note.

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Chicago Bulls Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Will the Milwaukee Bucks lose a single game to a Central Division foe this season? Their dominance of the central continued on Monday night with a 123-102 victory over the hapless Chicago Bulls.

The Bucks are now sitting at 30-5 on the season and are 14-3 away from the friendly confines of the Fiserv Forum. Of their five losses, zero is against opponents within the division.

Three Observations

Bledsoe Back

With Eric Bledsoe making his return from a leg injury, the Bucks’ passing as a unit was phenomenal. With him back in the mix, the ball was hopping all over the United Center in the victory. It all started with Bledsoe penetrating the teeth of the Bulls “defense” and creating wide-open looks for his teammates. While he only finished with three assists, he was making a ton of things happen offensively for the Bucks. It did not seem like this was his first game played in a couple of weeks. Milwaukee dished out 29 assists, and everyone was getting in on the fun. Heck, even Kyle Korver was driving and kicking for some dimes.

Ersan Thrillyasova Rides Again

Ersan Ilyasova continues to play tremendous basketball for the Milwaukee Bucks. He continued his strong stretch by adding 14 points and 11 rebounds in only 19 minutes. Most of his buckets were typical “Ersan” points off of offensive rebounds and intermediate jumpers. Over the last 10 games, Ilyasova is averaging 10.8 points and 6.8 rebounds while converting on 58.1% of his shots. He was especially strong in the two-game absence of Giannis Antetokounmpo. While the #Ersanity days are over, he consistently finds a way to get it done out there on the floor. Like a good neighbor, Ersan is there.

Giannis the Matador

What is an extended recap without mentioning Giannis Antetokounmpo? He missed the prior two-games due to a nagging back and did show minimal signs of rust in the first half. However, he decided the game was over in the second half. He was constantly terrorizing Bulls’ defenders who had no choice but to either foul him, or just get out of his way. Giannis is a great person off the court, but on the court, he’s a damn bully. He piled up 23 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists in 27 minutes while sinking 8-of-14 shots. I am running out of superlatives here.

Bonus Bucks

  • Khris Middleton continues to play at an elite level offensively. He poured in 25 points, six rebounds, and four assists against the Bulls on Monday night. Khris has been right at the 50/40/90 line throughout the season and is well on his way to earning another All-Star nomination. It’s hard to imagine where the Bucks would be without his contributions.
  • I mentioned Eric Bledsoe briefly earlier in the recap, but he was so good in his return that I would be silly not to mention him again. He dropped 15 points, three rebounds, three assists, and four steals in only 16 minutes. He kept Chicago on their toes defensively, and Bledsoe was blowing past defenders with ease. He’s still got that killer crossover. He also finished a game-high plus-26.
  • PAT CONNAUGHTON!!!!!
  • Brook Lopez was exceptional once again defensively, but that was a given.
  • The Bucks made only 11 three-pointers and still scored 123 points, lol.
  • While the Bulls made 17 three-pointers, Milwaukee managed to hold them to only 37.4% from the field.