On Saturday night, Derrick Rose was BACK, Jimmy Butler did Jimmy Butler things, and the Bulls offense looked about as good as it has in a long time. One way to tell if an offense is going well is to look at the types of shots it's getting. Shots at the rim and from behind the arc, as we all now know, are to be preferred, while non-rim 2 point shots are to be eschewed. Well, the eye test didn't lie this weekend, the Bulls were getting great shots.
The good guys shot 31 shots from 3 (not counting the 1 full court heave) and got an additional 24 shots at the rim, against just 27 shots from 3 feet and out but inside the 3 point line. That's as close to an ideal shot distribution as the Bulls can probably hope for, especially with their personnel. The fact that the three point shots were falling was especially helpful. Derrick Rose's 3 of 7 night from deep was a welcome surprise. Rose was also largely responsible for all of those rim shots, whether it was by attacking the basket himself or using the threat of his attacking to set up teammates. Rose being right made everything really click for the Bulls.
On the other side of the ball, the Bulls were able to take away the high value shots from the Bucks and funnel them into areas where their shots would have less value. The Tom Thibodeau defense is built to give up the midrange jump shot, in order to protect the paint and cover the three point line, and that's exactly what the Bulls were able to do against Milwaukee on Saturday.
The Bucks got a few more rim attempts than the Bulls, but they shot much worse on them, primarily as a result of better rim defense by Chicago. Those attempt numbers are probably a bit inflated, too, as the Bucks were able to get out in transition a number of times for easy looks. In the half court, the Bucks showed little ability to get to the rim against a set defense. Going forward, the Bulls will need to be more secure with the ball to prevent the Bucks from getting those easy attempts. A staggering 47 of Milwaukee's 89 attempts came in the non-rim 2 point area. If the Bulls are able to get these shot distributions on both sides of the ball for the entire series, it's going to be a short one.
One possible caveat to note, though, is that the Bulls shot 21 of 45 versus 16 of 43 for the Bucks on uncontested looks. Those two numbers are unlikely to always be so different, they should come towards one another, which could help the Bucks make up some of their margin. On the other hand, the fact that so many more of the Bulls' shots are coming from behind the arc means that it might not make a difference. Those little edges add up and in a better shooting game from Milwaukee, it could be the difference that allows the Bulls to still get a win.