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Milwaukee vs. Chicago: Bucks Stampede Bulls, 126-98

Milwaukee blows out Chicago in Brook Lopez’s first start since Opening Night

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

In a game where the Bucks were without Khris Middleton, they had absolutely no trouble taking care of the Bulls. They’d walk out of Fiserv Forum with an easy 126-98 victory.

Right off the bat, the Bulls fans were on Grayson Allen — as you probably expected they would be. However, Allen wouldn’t be phased, as he scored six of Milwaukee’s first eight points. The Bucks would then rattle off a run thanks to a flurry of Chicago turnovers, which paved the way for the home team to hold a double-digit lead. Milwaukee closed the quarter out on a 13-0 run, which gave them a 33-20 lead.

That 13-0 run would continue into the second quarter. Chicago couldn’t buy a single bucket to start things off, and that run by Milwaukee soon became a 23-4 run. The Bulls wouldn’t be able to muster much of anything, as they hit a few bumps in the road that made it difficult for them to score. Despite a 10-0 run by them to close out the half, they were still down by double digits. At the halftime break, the Bucks led 59-43.

Chicago would start to make things interesting in the third, but not for long. After they sliced the Bucks’ advantage to just ten, Milwaukee embarked on yet another run. In the blink of an eye, it was a 20+ point lead once again. The Bulls simply couldn’t match the Bucks’ energy. After a Jrue Holiday buzzer beater, Milwaukee led 91-69 going into the final quarter.

It’d continue to be a landslide through the final buzzer. Chicago was gassed and there was no opportunity for them to even sniff a comeback. The Bucks would end up winning decisively, 126-98.

Jrue Holiday had an incredibly strong offensive outing, capping his night off with 27 points. Giannis Antetokounmpo was his typical self, posting a performance of 25 points and 17 rebounds.

For Chicago, Nikola Vucevic finished with a team-high 22 points. DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine finished with 21 points apiece.

Three Observations

Jrue Holiday had a massive impact.

A 25+ point performance for Jrue Holiday isn’t always in the cards, but last night, we got it — and boy, was it pretty. His ability to slice and dice through the Chicago defense was done with relative ease, as he got to the rim when he wanted to. His ability to take over the game like that really stressed his playmaking ability. Add in the fact that Giannis also made his presence felt with 25 points of his own? That’s a recipe for a win, and that’s exactly what the Bucks got.

Brook’s presence is huge.

It cannot be stated enough. There have been stretches throughout the season where the Bucks were lagging on defense. There were times where their defense was incredibly porous. However, lately, those performances seem to be a bit behind them. Why? Because Brook Lopez has returned to the lineup. Last night marked his first time out on the Fiserv Forum floor, as he made his first start since Opening Night. He immediately welcomed himself back not just with ten points, but a stifling presence on the defensive end of the basketball. When Brook is playing at the level he is now, the Bucks become very difficult to beat.

No Middleton? No problem.

Before the game, Khris Middleton was ruled out due to a wrist injury he suffered in Minneapolis. However, looking at the final score, you probably wouldn’t have noticed that he was absent. Giannis and Jrue Holiday both contributed in scoring the basketball, which made it extremely difficult for the Bulls to have any chances of winning the game. Right from the opening tip, it was clear that Chicago lacked the offensive firepower to stay neck-and-neck with Milwaukee.

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • How disciplined was Milwaukee’s defense? DeMar DeRozan had no free throw attempts. In the first matchup this season, he tallied 17 attempts.
  • Here’s a wild stat courtesy of Justin Garcia:
  • Giannis hit 30+ points in each of the three road trip games. Coming into this one, he was at a season-high tying five consecutive games of 30 points. However, that streak came to an end, as he only tallied 25 points. I can’t imagine he cares that much about that though since the team got the win.
  • How big was Brook’s return? Milwaukee’s defensive rebounding rate was near 90%. Mercy.
  • With Khris Middleton out of the starting lineup, Wesley Matthews was inserted into the starting lineup. We all know the defensive capabilities he brings and from the opening tip, he was in the faces of multiple Bulls players. He definitely brought the intensity.
  • I mentioned how Grayson Allen scored six of Milwaukee’s first eight points last night. His aggressiveness developed into a theme all night long, as he was attacking the basket feverishly.
  • Last, speaking of Wes, this was a silky smooth move from him: