While it wasn’t as easy as Bucks fans were hoping, the Bucks were able to take care of business and go up 1-0 vs. the Chicago Bulls with a 93-86 win.
Nearly as soon as the opening tip was tossed up, the Bucks came flying out with energy. A 9-0 run fueld the Bucks and the Fiserv Forum crowd into a frenzy, with the Bulls offering few answers. Things soon developed into a double-digit advantage. Giannis would post a nine point, eight rebound performance in the opening frame, which helped the Bucks capture a 34-21 advantage going into the second quarter.
Despite such a lopsided opening quarter, Chicago would chisel their way back into this one. Late in the period, they sliced things down to a single-digit Milwaukee lead. However, despite Chicago getting back into it, you could still feel that the Bucks had control of things. Going into halftime, Milwaukee led by a 51-43 advantage.
Zach Lavine really started to flip a switch in the third quarter, getting Chicago well within reach of Milwaukee’s lead. In fact, the Bulls would storm all the way back to earn their first lead of the evening. However, following a Milwaukee timeout, the Bucks were able to get back on track after a disastrous stretch of minutes. After Giannis was subbed back in, things started to turn northward for the Bucks. Going into the final period of regulation, Milwaukee held onto a 74-71 advantage.
The Bulls would definitely make things frustrating for the Bucks down the stretch. Culminated by foul trouble and turnovers, Chicago gave themselves a chance to win the ballgame. However, a Zach Lavine game-tying 3-point attempt would rim out, which led to Jrue Holiday going to the line to close things out. From that point on, it was smooth sailing for the Bucks, and they escaped Fiserv Forum with a 93-86 lead and a 1-0 series advantage.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way for both teams, finishing with 27 points on 10-of-19 shooting. Brook Lopez had a solid performance, totaling 18 points.
For Chicago, Nikola Vucevic finished with a team-high 24 points.
Brook Lopez brought it on both ends.
This felt like the old Brook Lopez. On both ends of the floor, he brought a level of play that brought confidence to Milwaukee. He’d finish his outing with 18 points while also making a stifling appearance on the defensive end. Numerous times down the stretch when the Bucks were in dire need of a basket, it was Lopez who answered and scored down low. It just epitomizes how much it means to the Bucks that he’s back and fully healthy. Here’s what Bud had to say regarding Lopez’s play:
“Yeah, I mean, he’s a huge key to the game tonight — both ends of the court. He was very good, made a lot of big plays, finishing around the basket, started the game well, finished the game well, lot of plays around the rim defensively. He was very important.”
The Bucks were extremely sloppy with their turnovers.
As the game unfolded, it was clear that the Bulls were frustrating the Bucks with their defense. The miscues continued to pile up, with the Bulls utilizing them to chip away at the Milwaukee lead. It was a particularly frustrating night for Khris Middleton, who concluded his evening with seven turnovers. Here’s what Bud had to say regarding the turnovers in his postgame availability:
Milwaukee finished the night with 21 turnovers (seven from Khris Middleton). Here's what Mike Budenholzer had to say about that: pic.twitter.com/uWdZFlSFsh— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) April 18, 2022
It’s so fun to watch Giannis in the playoffs.
I mean, every Bucks fan and every basketball fan knows this. However, it still never gets old. He always puts on a show. He’d end up totaling 27 points on the afternoon, with some of the most electrifying of those points coming in the first few minutes. The level of energy that he plays with and exhibits out on the floor is one-of-a-kind. It’s still insanely crazy as to how much his presence impacts things. It’ll be exciting to see what new highlights we get from Giannis as this postseason unfolds.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- This play from Giannis is crazy, no matter how many times it happens. It’s also incredibly fun to watch:
This is basically a Backyard Basketball power up. https://t.co/XYR5mgQgqO— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) April 17, 2022
- The third quarter is where Chicago made its move. That’s the same period that gave Milwaukee trouble all regular season long. Coming into the postseason, that was an area of uncertainty and it showed why today. This will definitely be something that the Bucks will want to shore up as the postseason rolls on.
- Milwaukee seemed to miss a lot of wide-open shots, which is definitely an anomaly for them. Everybody that spoke after the game brought this up as well. I anticipate that things turn around in that department in Game 2.
- Wondering why Bud took Giannis out with 1:24 left?
Asked Budenholzer about the thought process of taking Giannis Antetokounmpo off the floor with 1:24 left. Antetokounmpo did not get back on the floor for over a minute and returned to the floor with 15.3 seconds left.— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) April 18, 2022
His explanation: pic.twitter.com/Gl4Z4Stg0s
- Milwaukee did a great job of holding DeMar DeRozan in check. He’d finish with 18 points on 6-of-25 from the floor. They’ll look to maintain that level of defensive efficiency against him moving forward.
- Prior to today, the Bucks had lost Game 1 in five of their last six series. That didn’t stop them from winning playoff series before, but they’re definitely happy to be up 1-0.