Welcome to the Chicago Bulls vs. Milwaukee Bucks post-game recap, where the narratives are made up and the offense doesn’t matter!
After dropping three straight games, the Chicago Bulls (6-6) found themselves with their backs against the wall on the road against the Milwaukee Bucks. Tom Thibodeau, for the first time in his career as a head coach, almost, but not really considered making line-up changes, signalling his frustration with the Bulls effort.
The last time Chicago lost four straight games, Vinny Del Negro was on the sidelines and Brad Miller was the starting center with Joakim Noah resting his injuries. That also marked the last time a Bulls fan was genuinely worried about a game against the Bucks. Needless to say, the Bulls understood that they needed to get back on track. In their first match-up against the Bucks this year, they managed to squeeze by, winning 93-86.
Here’s how it happened:
Brandon Jennings opened the game hitting two jumpers in a row, only to be answered by a
three-pointer from Kirk Hinrich. The Bucks were pushing the pace early and the Bulls were happy to play along. Back-to-back transition put-backs from Deng and Boozer had the game tied at 13 halfway through the quarter. However, their efforts on the boards were equalized by their pick-and-roll switches on the defensive end. Carlos Boozer can’t even guard a chair, let alone Brandon Jennings. He nailed jumper after jumper, finishing the quarter with 13 points and two steals.
Larry Sanders opened up the second quarter with his second banker of the night. Belinelli slashed to the rim to take the cap off the lid for Chicago. Later in the quarter, a Jimmy Butler and-1 cut the Bulls deficit to just four. Kirk Hinrich, who has had an all-but-amazing season, went through an interesting series of events here. Missing two back-t0-back open three’s, he made up for it by drawing a rather out-of-control foul in transition. Late in the half, he won the “Pippen Ain’t Easy Possession of the Half” award, dribbling around aimlessly for 22 seconds only to have Ersan Ilyasova draw a charge on him. That’s probably the last time I’ll say something bad about Kirk Hinrich.
The Bucks were doing everything they could to stretch the lead, but the Bulls starting guard Rip Hamilton would not succumb. Late in the first half, Monta Ellis, in Rose-esque form, slashed
to the rim in transition for two, but Rip’s back to back jumpers kept the Bucks at bay. He scored 18 of his 22 points in the first 24. It 52-52 at the half.
Kirk Hinrich drained a three to open the second half, marking the Bulls first lead since the opening tip. The Bucks and Bulls traded baskets for the majority of the quarter, with Milwaukee struggling on the boards. To embarrass Hinrich further, Jennings hit a pull-up transition three in his face to take the lead. Lucky for him, Luol Deng answered back with his own three-pointer, tying the game at 67. The Bucks, also having a history for inexplicably bad shooting, tied the Bulls at just three three-pointers made in the game at this point. For good measure, Jason Richardson nailed three triple’s in just eighteen minutes of play for Philadelphia earlier this evening. Another Jimmy Butler and-1 followed Chicago fans coming out of the woodwork, a common theme in the Harris Bradley Center. They headed in to the fourth, up 72-69.
After two back-to-back offensive boards, the Bucks managed to get two on the board. That would be the last time they managed to have an advantage in the rebounding department. With 5:21 to go, Monta Ellis nailed a jumper to tie the game at 81. Noteworthy: Both Carlos Boozer and Rip Hamilton found themselves playing through-out the stretch. Behind six second-chance opportunities in a row, Chicago managed to stretch their lead to four before Brandon Jennings, local superstar, hurt his ankle. Stay tuned to NBA.com for updates on his status. What makes the Bulls rebounding even more impressive is that the Bucks came into this game as one of the best defensive rebounding teams in the league.
The two teams exchanged a couple of free throw’s and the Chicago Bulls pulled ahead, winning 93-86.
Tonight marked the first time since November tenth that the Bulls held a team to under 90 points, a statistic that I’m sure Tom Thibodeau can’t be happy with. While the Chicago Bulls may have finished off a renewed Bucks team tonight, they’re going to need a much stronger effort from their second unit to build on that success.
Join Pippen Ain’t Easy again this Monday, as the Bulls will be back at home for the first time since November 2nd, facing off against the Bucks yet again.