The Chicago Bulls remain winless against the Greek Freak and the Milwaukee Bucks, this time losing 116-96. There were, however, a few silver linings in this game, so follow along for some instant reactions from Pippen Ain’t Easy.
The Bulls just can’t seem to beat this Bucks team.
It wasn’t quite as bad as the shellacking that took place a few weeks ago, but nevertheless, the Bulls couldn’t overcome a dazzling performance from Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak put up 35 points and seven blocks tonight. His wingman Jabari Parker added a solid 27 points and Malcolm Brogdon logged his first triple-double to top it all off.
The Bulls had some moments though, so let’s go through the game and see what there is to see.
The biggest story of the first quarter was really a pregame story. For the first time since 2007, Rajon Rondo was both active for a game and not in the starting lineup. Michael Carter-Williams got the start in his place and performed as well as you’d expect from him. He even sank a corner 3, and made the below fast break possible, the highlight play of the quarter:
The Bulls had a good quarter to start the game, scoring 27 points to the Bucks’ 22. They started the game with an 11-1 run, and the game looked markedly different than the last time these two teams suited up against each other. The Bucks, starting Virginia grad Brogdon in place of the injured Matthew Dellavedova, didn’t look quite as potent as usual on offense to start, although they would eventually heat up.
Things were a bit more even this quarter, with both Jimmy and the Greek Freak trying to lead their teams to a comfortable lead at the half. The second quarter also saw Doug McDermott finally take a shot attempt after 25 minutes and 7 seconds on the court without one.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was a force to be reckoned with in the first half, with 15 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and a staggering 5 blocks. No player has achieved the coveted yet elusive 5×5 since Nic Batum did it in 2012. Giannis put himself in a good position to make it happen through two quarters of play.
Warning: the following clip contains excessive amounts of Giannis:
So he’s okay at this. Bulls ended the half up two points, 51-49.
The third quarter got away from the Bulls a bit, mostly due to a hot shooting streak from Milwaukee. found themselves down eleven points after such a strong start to the game.
The Bulls, and when I say the Bulls I clearly mean Jimmy Butler, fought tooth and nail to make it a three point game with 33 seconds left in the quarter. Doug McDermott helped a little too with a pair of 3-pointers. Speaking of 3s, the Bulls hit _ of them tonight, the first time they made double digit 3s in a game since the third game of the season.
Wade continues to show once or twice a game why the Bulls wrote him a big check this summer:
Giannis 5×5 watch after three quarters: 21 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, and 7 blocks. A 3-steal fourth quarter would do it.
The Bucks led the game 80-76 through three quarters. Jimmy had 21 points through three, but was only 7-for-11 from the charity stripe. Jimmy entered the game shooting 88.7 percent from the line.
After an early three from Niko, he and Doug were a combined 5-for-7 from 3-point range, an encouraging sign for a team that often looks downright allergic to the long ball. It wasn’t enough to stop the Bucks however, who pushed the lead back up to eight points, leading to a timeout from a frustrated Fred Hoiberg.
Unfortunately, the timeout did little to shift the momentum for the Bulls. They just couldn’t find a way to stop Giannis or Chicago Native Jabari Parker. They would work and work to get a good look on the offensive end, then watch on the other side as all progress was erased with a couple of strides from Antetokounmpo. Rookie Malcolm Brogdon was huge for the Bucks, posting career highs in both rebounds and assists. The fact that they snagged him 22 picks after Denzel Valentine stings more than a little.
The Bulls never managed to make it close again (Bobby Portis and Denzel Valentine came in with about two minutes left), and the game ended with a score of 116-96. No 5×5 from Giannis, who still ended three steals short, but do you really care? He was incredible, and is increasingly becoming must-see TV with every game he plays.
Even though it was another loss, the Bulls looked significantly better than they have in recent games. If they can keep up the increased attempts from three and somehow magically create any shooting at all from the point guard position, they could still be a frisky team down the stretch. This was a more competitive game than the score would indicate, and if the Bulls can figure out how to get rid of Rondo and maybe snag a shooting point guard in a trade, I wouldn’t count them out.