The Chicago Bulls looked overmatched for much of the first half of Game 1 of their series against the Milwaukee Bucks. Giannis Antetokounmpo got to the rim at will. Their defense stifled the Bulls. It looked every bit the mismatch we expected when the series began.
But the Bulls didn't go away quietly. They even managed to take a brief lead in the second half. Milwaukee pulled away in the end, but if Game 1 was any indication, this isn't going to be the walkover most fans expected. Can the Bucks tighten their grip on this series? Or will the Bulls even things up in Game 2? Here's everything you need to know before Wednesday's clash.
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(3) Milwaukee Bucks vs. (6) Chicago Bulls
- When: Wednesday, April 20 | 9:30 p.m. ET
- Where: Fiserv Forum -- Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- TV: TNT | Live stream: FuboTV
- Odds: CHI +400; MIL -550; O/U 225 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Bucks: Milwaukee stormed out of the gates by pounding the ball inside. Antetokounmpo bullied his way to the basket with ease in the first quarter. Brook Lopez had plenty of success there as well. And then… things got harder. They finished with a relatively disappointing 42 points in the paint, a few points off of their regular-season average despite having a healthy frontcourt and a seemingly easy opponent. If the Bucks control the paint in this series, they win easily. If they let the Bulls turn them into jump shooters? Things get more complicated.
Bulls: You've seen the numbers by now. DeMar DeRozan shot 6-of-25 from the field. Nikola Vucevic was 9-of-27. Zach LaVine was 6-of-19. Coby White and Tristan Thompson were the only two Bulls to shoot even 50 percent from the field, and no Bulls exceeded that. It was a disastrous offensive outing. Milwaukee's strong defense contributed, but remember, this is a jump-shooting team playing against a defense that begs opponents to take jump shots. In theory, the Bulls should be able to score in this matchup. Game 2 will reveal if Game 1 was a fluke, or the reality of this matchup.
Neither team was on top of its game Sunday, but for the Bulls to cover the spread with their best players all shooting terribly from the field says a lot about what this series is ultimately going to look like. The Bucks should be heavily favored to win the series, but the Bulls are going to shoot better in Game 2 because it would be almost impossible for them not to. With that being the case, the Bulls should be expected to once again cover this double-digit spread. The pick: Bulls +10