Chicago Bulls Prepare For Physical Game 3 Against Bucks


After the Chicago Bulls dominated in a 103-91 Game 1 win over the Milwaukee Bucks, Jason Kidd and company entered Game 2 on Monday night looking to set a physical tone to the series. After a game that had seven technical fouls, two skirmishes, one ejection, and one injury, it is safe to say that this series has officially gotten personal between the two teams. And after losing the first game, Milwaukee set a tone in Game 2 that has the team confident as they head up I-94 to play Games 3 and 4 in Milwaukee.

In the first incident early in the second quarter, Bucks forward John Henson shoved Aaron Brooks as he attempted to draw a charge at mid-court. After the skirmish, the officials had to separate both ball clubs, but not before Jimmy Butler and O.J. Mayo both engaged in a verbal altercation of their own. After the players were separated, a review session was conducted by the referees with the replay system, and the officials issued technical fouls to Noah, Mayo, and Henson.

The second incident occurred when Bucks forward Zaza Pachulia elbowed Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic in the back of the head on a rebound. Mirotic was not too happy with Pachulia after the play and, in a fight over a loose ball, pulled the big man down to the floor, which resulted in a scuffle on the ground as the two exchanged blows. Both Pachulia and Mirotic were issued technical fouls. The Bucks’ forward was then ejected, because the technical was his second of the game.

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As the Bucks head home, they appear to be as confident as an underdog needs to be in order to have a chance against a team many picked to make it to the NBA Finals at the beginning of the season. Truth is, the Bucks simply don’t have enough offense to compete with the Bulls. According to Zach Harper, NBA writer for CBS Sports, the Bucks finished with the fifth-worst offense in the NBA, and their field goal percentages have reduced in their first two playoff games against the Bulls. In Game 1 the Bucks shot 39.3 percent from the field and 25.0 percent from 3-point range, and in Game 2 they shot 35.6 percent from the field and 23.7 percent from 3-point range. This also means that the Bulls have picked up their defense.

It is well known that Milwaukee struggles to score, and so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that they are influencing and embracing a physical battle with the Bulls. According to CSN’s Mark Strotman, the Bucks have already embraced a physical series. “That’s the way they play so it’s the way we have to play,” Khris Middleton said of the body contact in Game 2. “We have to play intense and put up a fight.”

According to the Chicago Tribune, Bulls Forward Joakim Noah also expects the series to get more physical. The Bulls aren’t strangers themselves to personal vendettas. It was just last spring that the team was involved in a personal series against the Washington Wizards; a series in which Nene of the Washington Wizards and Butler both engaged in a scuffle in Game 3 of the East’s first round. That was in a year when the Bulls weren’t expected to compete for an NBA Championship, and they were more in a survival state of mind.

With Mirotic suffering an injury in Game 2 and the way the Cleveland-Boston series is shaping up, the Bulls may want to keep their composure and lessen their chances of losing any more players.

The Bulls have proven they are the better team, and the Bucks’ inability to score will hurt them in the series. Chicago just needs to take care of business and not risk losing players, because they want to be ready for Cleveland. According to the Chicago Tribune, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau expressed that he wants players to keep their cool. “It’s an emotional game, and I want us to play with a lot of toughness,” Thibodeau said. “But I also want us to play smart. You stop right before it becomes physical. I don’t want anyone thrown out.” The Bulls travel to Milwaukee tomorrow for Game 3 against the Bucks in what should be a game full of body contact.

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