When we last prepared for a Milwaukee Bucks playoff game against these Chicago Bulls, it came on the heels of an embarrassing pair of home games (which the Bucks split, 1-1). There was some legitimate concern about Milwaukee’s level of preparation and execution, and the Bulls’ newfound home court advantage.
Then Game 3 happened.
Where We’re At
It’s all smiles in Milwaukee, as the Bucks took the Game 2 loss to heart and came out with a level of vigor we haven’t consistently seen since...well, since the previous postseason. The defense was stout, passes were crisp, and everyone moved with purpose. Honestly, it was how Chicago played for most of the first two games, while the Bulls got down early and appeared shellshocked for the rest of the contest. From BlogABull:
After this, the camera captured images of a dejected Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic sitting together on the bench as the Bulls fielded a squad of Coby White, Patrick Williams, Troy Brown, Ayo Dosunmu, and Tristan Thompson at the end of the game.
This was the largest margin of defeat in playoff franchise history for the Bulls. It got so bad that on several occasions in the third quarter, the United Center faithful were actually booing. The most interesting part of the game at this point was seeing if the Bulls fans were booing their own players louder than Grayson Allen. There were several cutaways to absolutely stunned, devastated Bulls fans.
For the Bulls, there’s no obvious counter to Milwaukee’s move to up-size their starting lineup, replacing the injured Khris Middleton with the bespectacled Bobby Portis. With Lonzo Ball sidelined and Zach LaVine clearly hobbled, there simply aren’t any other major players to try out to support DeMar DeRozan’s superhero act. Alex Caruso has been doing all the little things...but the Bulls need big things. Nikola Vucevic isn’t providing it, Patrick Williams isn’t ready, leaving...Coby White? Ayo Dosunmu? Tristan Thompson? (lol) Milwaukee is the betting favorite going into today’s matinée matchup, but we’ve seen how the Bucks play when guys (looking at you, Giannis) have to move their routines up and miss out on their game-day nap.
Player To Watch
Nikola Vucevic is the wild card that the Bulls need to try and wrestle back control of the series. Milwaukee has made it absolutely clear that they don’t mind Vooch letting it fly; the Chicago center has taken 27 total threes in this series, all of them above the break (he has connected on 9, making his rate an underwhelming 33.3%). If Vucevic is going to continue launching threes, he needs to connect on them for the Bulls offense to un-gum itself as Wes Matthews and Jrue Holiday wreak havoc on the actions Chicago is using to attempt to free up DeRozan and LaVine.
Game 4: Against Chicago, the Bucks will...
This poll is closed
Win big (by 10 or more points)
Win close (by 9 or fewer points)
Lose close (by 9 or fewer points)
Lose big (by 10 or more points)
Check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation.