clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Bulls vs. Bucks final score: Milwaukee uses balanced scoring without Giannis Antetokounmpo to end Chicago’s 3-game winning streak

New, comments

The Bucks are very good and very deep

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Chicago Bulls David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Bulls were riding high coming into Monday’s game against the Giannis Antetokounmpo-less Bucks, and they rode that wave through a dominant 38-point first quarter that saw them go up by as many as 14 points. But with the Bulls playing without Otto Porter Jr. (leg) and Kris Dunn (migraine), their lack of depth showed up in a big way against a ridiculously deep and talented Bucks squad. The end result was a 117-106 Milwaukee win and the end of the Bulls’ three-game winning streak. The Bucks also finished off a 4-0 season sweep.

The Bulls jumped out to their big lead thanks to, who else, Lauri Markkanen and Zach LaVine. After their monster performances against the Celtics, Markkanen poured in 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting in the first quarter, while LaVine did it all with 10 points, four assists and four rebounds. The Bucks’ starters really struggled without their outside shooting, and they didn’t have Giannis to bail them out with dunks.

The Bucks’ bench completely flipped the script, though. Milwaukee used a 16-2 run to start the second quarter to take the lead, and those minutes featured some truly appalling Cristiano Felicio minutes. Behold:

All of the Bulls’ momentum was gone, and Khris Middleton took things from there to give the Bucks a 63-54 lead heading into halftime. The Bulls hung around in the third quarter thanks to Robin Lopez and spot starter Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, who combined for 21 of the 26 Bulls points scored in the frame.

But the Bucks were just too much, pulling away in the fourth quarter and going up by 20 points with just over three minutes left when Jim Boylen pulled the plug. Milwaukee had six players score in double figures, with Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon scoring 22 points apiece. The Bucks were a bit streaky with their 3-point shooting, but they poured in 17 triples on 49 attempts and won the bench scoring battle 42-24. Old friend Nikola Mirotic had 13 points off the bench and hit several key treys in the fourth quarter as Milwaukee pulled away.

While the Bulls were outgunned in this one, Markkanen showing out yet again was great to see. It has been really fun watching his development this month, especially his off-the-dribble work, finishing and playmaking. The big man notched another double-double with 26 points (11-of-22 shooting) and 12 rebounds, and he added three dimes for good measure. He made some really nasty passes in this game:

Markkanen had several wraparound passes like this on the night, and I was also really impressed with a few of his floater finishes:

Markkanen has been showing really nice touch around the basket as he continues to build out his complete game.

While Markkanen had a terrific night, LaVine’s wound up being a bit strange. The guard nearly finished with a triple-double (nine assists, eight rebounds), but he only scored one point after the first quarter to finish with 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting. He was clearly hunting assists in the fourth quarter and not really looking to score, to the detriment of the team.

Then there was Lopez, who continues to play as well as he ever has in his career. He matched Markkanen with a season-high 26 points on 10-of-16 shooting, even knocking down his lone 3-point attempt to hit that season high. RoLo soundly outplayed his brother, Brook Lopez, who missed all seven of his 3-pointers and seemed pretty miffed about it. After Robin hit his triple, Brook took his anger out on the rim with a monster and-1 dunk. To his credit, Brook did block five shots, but Robin won the individual battle on this night as he hit 17-plus points for his career-high sixth consecutive game.

The only other notable performance was TLC, who had 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists, and he was somehow a plus-15 (garbage time helped). TLC is athletic and active and could be interesting, but he plays so out of control that it hurts him. It was a wild ride watching him try to do a lot in that third quarter.

The Bulls are now 16-45 and have a day off before playing Joakim Noah and the Grizzlies on Wednesday. The Grizzlies have been struggling, but they did just beat the Lakers ... though that’s not much of a feat these days.