Turnovers Have Forced Game 6 for the Chicago Bulls


After the Chicago Bulls completed a 113-106 double overtime victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, many around the sports world automatically drew the conclusion that the Bulls were on the verge of a series sweep of the Bucks, which would have been their first sweep of a series since 2007. That was when the Bulls completed a first-round sweep of the then NBA Champion Miami Heat.

Derrick Rose looked great in Game 3, the best he’s looked in the postseason since his MVP year in 2011, scoring 34 points and completing eight assists in 48 minutes. Since Game 3, the series has taken a dramatic turn and given the Milwaukee Bucks confidence. They are now two games away from possibly pulling off the biggest upset in the NBA Playoffs thus far. Rose has played much worse since his brilliant Game 3, scoring just 27 points in the last two games and committing 14 turnovers.

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No team has ever come back from an 0-3 deficit in NBA history, but if the Bucks are able to win two straight games, they would be making history and winning their first series since the 2000-2001 season, when the team lost to Allen Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference Finals (4-3). So for the Bulls, what has changed in the past two games?

It seems the Bucks in Game 5 were more motivated than the Bulls to win this series, Milwaukee is the more active team and has devised a defensive strategy that saw them hold Chicago to 4-22 shooting from 3-point range and 18.2 percent in Game 5 after the Bulls shot 38 percent in the previous 4 games. The Bucks also held the Bulls to 34 percent shooting from the field.

For a Milwaukee Bucks team that ranked fifth worst in the NBA on offense, the Bucks have relied more on their defense, which is second in the NBA. Their defense gains more possessions, as the Bulls have given up 40 extra possessions to the Bucks in their last two games. According to the Chicago Tribune’s K.C. Johnson, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau held a film session on Tuesday, and one of the major issues the Bulls coach pointed to was that the Bucks out-hustled the Bulls and were the first to loose balls.

The Bucks led most of the way in Game 5, and yet the Bulls pulled the game within 3, but then Michael Carter-Williams came through for the Bucks in the fourth quarter, scoring 10-of-15 shots with Derrick Rose guarding him.

The Bucks forced the Bulls to beat them from the perimeter and denied points in the paint by Chicago in the 4th quarter. Milwaukee held the Bulls to 26 percent shooting in the second half. The Bucks, a team that was expected to be home right now watching the playoffs, suddenly believe they have a chance to win the series.  “We believe that we can beat this team, and we felt that we shouldn’t be going home right now,” said Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton.

This is just not what many Bulls fans expected from a team that is one game from advancing to the second round, but the players know they didn’t give their best effort. “They came into us, put us on our heels early, and we’ve got to battle back,” said Chicago’s Taj Gibson, who scored 12 points in the game. The Bulls now have a bit of pressure on them, because if they lose Game 6, then they’ll have to play a Game 7 in Chicago. And based on how the Bulls have played at home this season, plus the fact that the Bucks have already proven they can win a game in Chicago, a victory wouldn’t be guaranteed. Game 6 between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Chicago Bulls will be tomorrow night in Milwaukee at 8pm Eastern time on TNT.

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