The Bucks have taken it upon themselves to remind their direct rivals that they are still a team to fear in the East. Two nights after defeating the Heat, the Wisconsin team did the same against the Bulls during their visit to the United Center, where they won 112-118. In this way, Budenholzer’s team has added its third consecutive victory, equaling Chicago’s (39-25), who have lost their last four games, in the standings.
The reigning champions, who received the good news a few hours before kick-off that Brook Lopez is now ready to train five against five, managed to survive the push from the Bulls in the third quarter to end up being more decisive in the last . With a 13-2 run, the locals tried to distance themselves, but Milwaukee’s response was not long in coming from Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday. Between the two they combined for a total of 26 points in the fourth period, 10 for the Greek and 16 for the point guard, signing an excellent closing that prevented Donovan’s men from staying ahead.
Giannis thus managed to finish as the match’s top scorer thanks to his 34 points, to which he added 16 rebounds and 5 assists in a colossal performance that has managed to become routine. The Greek was not too fine this time in his medium or long distance shots (1/7 out of the paint) or from the free throw (10/19), but his power in the paint was enough to dominate the encounter and give victory to theirs.
“We have to continue in this good dynamic,” said the Greek. “When things are going well, you have to keep moving forward and try to learn something new every day. We have to keep improving and evolving.”
Holiday, meanwhile, finished with 26 points, and was again essential for his success in the final minutes, in which his pulse did not shake and he scored several baskets of great value. So did Khris Middleton, although in his case he did not have as much presence in the fourth quarter and finished with 22 points and 7 assists.
For the Bulls, LaVine and DeRozan tried to put their own offense behind them with 30 and 29 points respectively, although they did so with uneven effectiveness. Zach, with 50% accuracy in his shots, signed a fairly successful clash, although he was not so successful in the shot of three (3/10), while DeMar, more uncomfortable than usual, suffered more to score. The shooting guard stayed at 11/30 in his shots from the field and could only travel five times to the free throw line, which made him shine less than he usually does despite finishing with a good scoring figure.
“I like how we have competed” assured the former Spurs player, who wanted to keep the positive part. “In the end, everything has been decided in the last few minutes, and they are the champions for a reason.”
(Cover photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)