It’s always fun to beat Chicago: Bucks 106 – Bulls 101

Chicago Bulls 101 Final
Recap | Box Score
106 Milwaukee Bucks
Jabari Parker, PF 27 MIN | 8-14 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | +7 +/-

He spent a lot of time in the first quarter launching up long jump shots without any success or getting blocked. But he was a big part of Milwaukee’s third quarter run and seemed to get going after helping Milwaukee take advantage of Chicago’s five third-quarter turnovers.

In the fourth quarter, Milwaukee went to Parker when the Bulls had Doug McDermott covering him in the post. He immediately got his body into him, turned and tossed in a layup. It was the kind of assertive, confident move I’ve been waiting to see out of Jabari. He’s supposed to be a two-part matchup advantage: quicker than bigs, stronger than smalls. It was great to see him use an advantage over a defender. He complimented that strong move with a touch jumper in the paint that bailed the Bucks out of an awkward spot (the ball was on the ground and Jabari found it) and some cuts that resulted in layups too.

His rebounding was a problem, but it was nice to see him make shots at a high volume, even if he still didn’t make a three or a free throw.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 31 MIN | 10-14 FG | 0-1 3FG | 9-14 FT | 10 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 29 PTS | +19 +/-

Speaking of free throws, look at those glorious 14 attempts Giannis had. I don’t care if his head was down or not; he was Milwaukee’s only hope offensively early, and he kept up the scoring after his teammates finally got their act together. He backed Taj Gibson all the way down for a layup early on. He put a Euro-step on Joakim Noah for another basket after that. He raced out ahead of everyone for dunks. The Bulls regularly play big lineups, and Giannis seemed to sense that those big guys could not contain him.

He made big plays throughout the game, but one that *cue cliché* won’t show up in the scoreboard *cliché over* was his box out of Taj Gibson with 47.9 to play. He got a body on Gibson, who pushed him under the rim and sent Giannis to the line in the process. Milwaukee was a disaster on the defensive glass, so it was a relief to see someone box out finally, especially in a crucial moment.

Greg Monroe, C 37 MIN | 7-13 FG | 0-0 3FG | 3-3 FT | 12 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 17 PTS | +14 +/-

Same game as always. And you’re right, Kevin in the comments, I have been a little hard on him for having the same game every night. He’s incredibly consistent offensively, and His reliability is a huge asset, especially on a team full of players who could go either way on any given night. So kudos to him for being him.

Defensively he did a good job helping out on a Butler drive late, and he was the only guy doing much of anything on the defensive glass for the Bucks throughout the game.

Michael Carter-Williams, PG 37 MIN | 4-13 FG | 0-0 3FG | 3-5 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | +5 +/-

Aside from two fast break scores, he struggled to contribute much offensively for most of the night. He was 2-11 in non-transition situations. He also fouled Jimmy Butler on a 3-point attempt with 38 seconds to play and the Bucks up four. He had been playing well recently, and nobody is going to be a great player every night, but MCW lost a lot of the benefit of the doubt in the first two months of the season. On the plus side, he didn’t turn the ball over at all and was a contributor to Milwaukee’s turnover forcing success with three steals that directly led to four points.

Khris Middleton, SG 41 MIN | 6-16 FG | 2-6 3FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 9 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 16 PTS | +2 +/-

Guard the other team’s best player and lead your team in scoring. That’s a lot to ask of any player, especially Khris Middleton. He’s so regularly been Milwaukee’s top offensive option of late that it was surprising to see him struggle with his shot occasionally. But when you factor in his primary assignment on the defensive end (Jimmy Butler), it makes a bit more sense.

After a tough start, he came on late. His rebounding and passing were strong all game and he hit a huge fadeaway jumper over a perfectly positioned Butler with 16 seconds to play. I seem to recall concern over him hanging his head when things didn’t go his way at some point last year. It’s safe to say those concerns are gone. It’s also been a pleasure to watch him improve as a passer, especially when he drives to the basket. Every night he seems to be laying off passes to open cutters or bigs sitting at the rim for easy baskets.

John Henson, PF 22 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-2 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 5 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | -12 +/-

His five blocks were helpful against a big Bulls front line, but Milwaukee could have used more rebounds out of their backup center. The Bulls got four offensive rebounds alone out of Joakim Noah.

O.J. Mayo, SG 26 MIN | 2-9 FG | 1-4 3FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -1 +/-

He continues to do two things: struggle with his shot and find John Henson for alley-oops. The alley-oop to Henson will be what I always associated with Mayo’s time in Milwaukee. He’s probably thrown 50 at this point. They have an incredible feel for each other.

Rashad Vaughn, SG 16 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-2 3FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -5 +/-

Twice – TWICE – he was able to get to the rim and finish, and one of those finishes was over Joakim Noah. This is a development we can all enjoy watching.

Four Things We Saw

  1. You’ve read this before, you’ll read it again: Milwaukee gave up too many offensive rebounds. 20 to be exact. And sometimes they gave up as many as three on one possession! It always seems like the Bucks – both big and small – are getting turned around and losing their guys when they should be boxing out. Milwaukee was fortunate that Chicago didn’t take better advantage of their reloads, as the Bulls only scored 14 second-chance points.
  2. Turnovers were the lifeblood of Milwaukee’s offense. Chicago turned the ball over 17 times, leading to 30 Milwaukee points. Chicago’s offense stagnated after they went up eight points in the third quarter and the Bucks hit them the way the wind hit you when you walked outside Tuesday morning in Milwaukee. Whether it was an unsuspecting Pau Gasol getting stripped on a post-up or a clumsy Taj Gibson losing his dribble, Milwaukee aggressively pursued every opportunity to run off Bulls turnovers.
  3. Derrick Rose spent a lot of time when he wasn’t in the game sitting next to the media while riding a stationary bicycle. Maybe he can’t sit still because of his knees and whatever else is hurting him at this point. Whatever was his reason, I felt awful for him on that bike. If he has to do that everywhere, I can’t even imagine how annoyed he must get. Fans scream at him from feet away. Everyone sees it as an opportunity for a selfie. The whole time he stares straight ahead. Imagine having to go through that every night.
  4. Milwaukee has played back-to-back down to the wire type home games, and I can confidently say that these experiences are a lot of fun, even in this type of season. It’s easy to say that a team should tank, but in the heat of these games, especially games where a bunch of Chicago fans are in the building, it’s tough not to want Giannis to take over and lead the Bucks to a win the way he did Tuesday night.

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3 Comments

  1. Kudos for taking the comments to heart — I enjoyed the Greg Monroe update! The commenters have been piling on you guys lately, but I always appreciate your work and this is my favorite bucks blog. Cheers!

  2. Gotta say, pretty neat being mentioned in the recap! Moose has been playing mostly great for a good portion of the season, and lately seems to be especially sharp. The Bucks desperately need him to be a dominant scorer in the half court when the transition buckets aren’t there. Luckily, the turnovers allowed the team to play fast, and it showed especially with Giannis having such a strong outing.

    Middleton continues to astound me as a passer this season. It’s not just in his assist totals, but his willingness to make the pass, find the open shooters or the cutters into the lane, and making sharp, decisive passes where only his teammates can get them. I expected Giannis to make the biggest jump this season, and to an extent that may still be the case. But a great case can be made for Middleton as well.