Chicago Bulls: 4 things that went wrong in Game 1 vs Bucks

Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /
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Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bulls dropped Game 1 of their first-round playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks by a score of 93-86. The Bucks swept the Bulls in the regular season, with the final two games of the series being complete blowouts. The beginning of Game 1 started off as a recap of the final two regular season matchups, too.

Milwaukee jumped out to 15-point lead, and Bulls’ savior DeMar DeRozan couldn’t buy a bucket. The latter didn’t change, but thanks to Zach LaVine, Nikola Vucevic and Coby White, the Bulls were able to come back and take the lead later in the game.

The display of resilience was nice, but in the end the Bucks proved to be too powerful and kept their composure to grab the home victory. There’s plenty to unpack in regard to went wrong for Chicago, and four particular trends standing out as the final nails in the coffin.

Let’s look at the factors that led to the Game 1 defeat.

4. Not Enough Zach LaVine Touches Early

Zach LaVine was the only star among the Bulls’ big three who had never played in a playoff game. He entered the game, like the rest of the core, coming off of a disappointing loss to the Charolette Hornets to end the regular season. He had dealt with knee pain since Jan. 14 and has looked less explosive as the season has progressed from there.

With all that said, he’s still been the Bulls second-best player.

In the first quarter, he only got two shot attempts up — both from three. In the second quarter, he got four shot attempts in — two in the paint and two from three. The lack of LaVine involvement had a domino effect on the team.

When LaVine is in rhythm, Vucevic is usually the star that the Bucks cheat off of. LaVine has the best chemistry with Vucevic out of the team’s guards. He finds Vucevic in his spots at the right moments. Since he wasn’t involved in the offense in the first half, the Bucks didn’t have to cheat off of him. That left Vucevic floating on the perimeter, settling for poor jump shots instead of layups.

The second half was a different story. Donovan took DeMar DeRozan out and had LaVine running the offense with Alex Caruso and Coby White on the wings and Vucevic down low. He was able to get an offensive rhythm that influenced the others on the floor. Vucevic got the most paint touches of the game in that third quarter stretch, and White was able to go on a 5-0 scoring run.

Getting LaVine involved early can help avoid falling into quick holes, something that had a major impact on the team’s Game 1 defeat.