Good to see a blowout victory in a game where the opponent came onto the Bulls home court and were the ones laying an egg for once. Both teams started the game atrociously, deadlocked at 12-12 ten minutes into the game with the Bulls having 6 turnovers in that span. From then on, the Bulls bench blew the game open while the Bucks stayed terrible.
Milwaukee, especially now that they traded Brandon Knight (and his replacement, Michael Carter-Williams, was out with an injury) are a team that's pretty much all lanky and lengthy, with neither a true point guard nor traditional big men. There were times where that wingspan gave the Bulls issues in the passing lanes and some shotblocking at the rim, but for the most part it was just an opportunity for the Bulls to overpower them physically and take advantage of some truly horrible offense.
Again, the Bulls were following suit for the first stretch of the game, but some early foul trouble to Jimmy Butler (and illnesses to Taj Gibson and Kirk Hinrich) led to extended minutes for Tony Snell and Nikola Mirotic, and they led an 18-3 surge to get the lead near 20 early in the 2nd quarter.
Tony Snell was unconscious in the first half, hitting 7 of 10 shots (4-5 from three) to get to 18 points in 16 minutes of action. It wasn't just the open three-point shooting, though that's really a huge step in solidifying his role. Snell was also good cutting on and off the ball, and showed an ability to run the court and finish in transition that the Bulls could really use at the backup wing spot. Mirotic also had a great first-half stint, including a Dirk-like baseline turnaround jumper and a couple fouls drawn.
Mirotic also had 10 first-half rebounds, and the Bulls just dominated the game in this category, ultimately winning the rebounding margin 62-41. Noah led the way with 16 boards in nearly 33 minutes. Pau Gasol didn't have a career-high again like his last game against the Bucks, but it was clear they had no way to combat his size and they just resorted to fouling him, where he went 5-8 from the line and had his typical double-double.
Derrick Rose was abysmal in this game. He was careless with the ball and three-happy early, and when getting to the rim saw a couple sent back at him. His only early offense was off of offensive rebounds and some FTAs, but finished with a dreadful 8 points in 33 minutes going 1-13 from the field (1-7 from three) and three turnovers (felt like three-times that).
Honestly, he and the whole team didn't play particularly well in the 2nd half (outside of Mirotic, who wound up with 16 points and 14 rebounds). Tony Snell only had 2 points in that half! And for the whole game, while the Bulls won handily and had a lead that never got below 14, the Bulls had 18 turnovers and shot 35.5% from the field.
But it didn't matter as the Bucks were so horrid on offense they posed no threat, and finished with an opponents' season-low of 71 points, on 34% shooting and 22% from three. They were a mere 7-13 from the line. They did play last night and this was their 3rd game in 4 nights...but yeesh.
The true garbage time players didn't enter until a Thibsian-late 2 minutes in the game (Rose and Noah re-entered the 'contest' for some sick reason), but much of the game even before then pretty skippable. That's a good thing, as before we've seen the Bulls fail to really hold their boots to the throats of opponents who deserved it, and that didn't happen in this game.