How could you not enjoy last night's 113-106 double overtime victory? Seriously, what an incredibly basketball game. It had everything you could ask for: professional level pace, both teams blowing leads, great individual performances and an absolutely rocking arena. We even saw some history as Giannis Antetokounmpo became the youngest player in the last 30 seasons to record at least 25 points and 10 rebounds in a playoff game. I wrote this once already this series, but it bears repeating: the Bucks will have their day, one day. However, today belongs to the Bulls because I'm not sure any team has looked better than they have through three games this postseason.
Quick note before we start, Kevin Ferrigan wrote an awesome recap last night. Thorough and detailed. Therefore, I'm just here to give you the (mostly) minutiae. So without further ado, let's get it.
1) Chicago's Offense
OK, this one is just too big and obvious to ignore. Enough can't be said. If you were to tell me that before this series that the Bulls would be posting a 9.2 net rating as a team through three games, I absolutely wouldn't have believed you. If you were to tell me that the Bulls would be assisting on 74.3 percent of their field goals -- which, by the way, is obliterating every other team this postseason, according to RealGM -- I would have called you a liar. Again, according to RealGM, the Bulls are top five in both true shooting (TS%) and effective field goal percentage (eFG%).
All of this is to say, the Bulls have been extremely efficient against one of the best defenses in the NBA. It's universally agreed upon that the Bucks are a great defensive team. And Chicago's getting whatever they please. Anyone still doubting whether or not the Bulls can score enough simply isn't paying attention. The question now shifts to, for the first time in years: can actually get enough stops?
Hey, remember before the series when I showed you this play?
Well, check out this play below:
First play of the game, and Michael Carter-Williams actually corrects his mistake -- running over the top of the screens instead of going underneath -- that the screen-shot above shows. However, Mike Dunleavy (the only guy who is good at throwing lobs on the team) puts the ball in the perfect place and there's nothing young MCW can do.
Also, if you're a regular reader of Second Chance Points, you're probably aware of my disdain for when the Bulls throw lobs. Last night, though, the Bulls were 2-2 -- both being Dunleavy-to-Butler connections -- and I've gotta credit them for getting it right. So save the date as April 23, 2015 might've been one of the few times this season where the Bulls were 100 percent on lobs minimum two attempts.
3) Pau Gasol Beating The Double
Love Pau recognizing the double-team Milwaukee is sending and beating it by keeping the ball high, firing it weakside to Derrick Rose, which then forces Milwaukee to concede a wide open three-point attempt by Jimmy Butler after Rose swings it one extra pass. Ball movement, folks. It's been just sensational all series.
4) Obligatory Derrick Rose Unbelievable Pass
Speaking of ball movement:
But wait, I was told the Bulls would be better without Derrick Rose?
D-Rose, playoffs splits. D-ROOOOSSSEEE pic.twitter.com/U7BQB7xphn— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) April 24, 2015
5) Overcoming an 18-point deficit
If it weren't for Golden State's historic fourth quarter comeback in New Orleans last night, then we'd probably be giving more attention to the Bulls erasing Milwaukee's 18-point second quarter lead in a matter of seven minutes. Just big time stuff.
6) The Minutes
And finally, I'd just like to make it be known that I have no problem whatsoever with Tom Thibodeau playing his best players big minutes in the postseason. You want to call him out on this during the regular season? Fine. I won't argue. Did Pau Gasol play too many minutes? Yes. Did Jimmy Butler play too much? Of course. Might the Bulls be worse for this in the long run? Probably. But I mean, if he can't play his best guys big tick now, then when can he?