Anyone can kind of fill in the blanks for these Bulls games against good teams, and I shall for this 111-98 defeat in Milwaukee. The Bucks do not lose to bad teams, and the Bulls can not beat good teams, and lose in a typical fashion:
They hang in there for a period (aka ‘spurt’) or two, helped by opponent turnovers and Zach LaVine hitting difficult shots. But you notice that when the team concentrates for more than 8 seconds they can get an open three or layup. In this game the Bulls gave up a spurt early to be down double-digits, but LaVine kept them close. The Bucks wound up having 15 turnovers at halftime.
Then the third quarter begins and the better team surged out to a huge lead. The Bucks were up by as much as 16. A Bulls SPURT got them within 6 (Thad Young was chuckin, and hit 4 threes - a season high), but then a turd lineup when LaVine sat meant they stayed within arms length, even while the good team is clearly not taking the Bulls seriously much and throwing the ball around. Awful free-throw shooting didn’t help the Bucks cause either, missing 13 attempts from the charity stripe in this game.
The 4th quarter started for four minutes with a bunch of limited role players like Young, Coby White, Lauri Markannen, and Chandler Hutchison who predictably struggled to score, making the deficit at 14 when LaVine came back in. There were dueling coaches challenges on nearly consecutive block/charge calls that the Bucks won and the Bulls lost, that was thrilling.
The Bulls never got much closer, and the last 2 minutes was Denzel-white-flag time, but overall they battled and I’m proud of them.
#VoteLaVine finished with a team high 24, playing and shooting just enough for the team-owned PR to mention he has some streak of whatever scoring outputs in who cares amount of games. The next highest Bull was Kris Dunn with 15, where he missed his first two threes badly but then hit his three other attempts, including a stare-down of the Bucks bench when he brought them to down 11 points. The Bulls started well from three to begin things but finished 14-48 (29%) from three. Specialist stretch-four Markkanen was 0-7.
Giannis looked like he was having a fairly pedestrian game yet it was a 28 point triple-double? Thad ‘the Giannis somewhat slower’ Young had some good moments in the first half defensively but otherwise the Bulls defense on him was reduced to shamefully dangerous flopping. It worked a bit as he had 8 turnovers.
Do not despair, the Bulls have three more wins coming this week against the bottom-10 of the league, and that’s the growth plate and we are in the hunt.