Am I terrified? Absolutely.
Am I also so pumped up I could break through a brick wall easier than the Kool-Aid Man? You betcha.
LET’S DO THIS!
Chicago Bulls (46-36) at Milwaukee Bucks (51-31) – 5:30 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Chicago (TV), TNT (TV), and 670 The Score (Radio)
1. Alex Caruso
2. Zach LaVine
3. DeMar DeRozan
4. Patrick Williams
5. Nikola Vucevic
Injury Report: Lonzo Ball OUT (knee), Matt Thomas OUT (leg)
1. Jrue Holiday
2. Wes Matthews
3. Khris Middleton
4. Giannis Antetokounmpo
5. Brook Lopez
Bucks: Jordan Nwora PROBABLE (back soreness)
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) April 15, 2022
The Bulls walk into tonight as +10.5 underdogs against the Milwaukee Bucks at PointsBet Illinois Sportsbook and at the FanDuel Illinois Sportsbook. Click on either link to sign up and pick the Bulls to cover (… or pick the opposite, I guess …)!
I’m hoping Billy Donovan used that spread as bulletin board material in the locker room.
What to Watch For …
• Is it time for a Patrick Williams come-out party? The Chicago Bulls will have to rely on the second-year forward probably far more than they would like to in this series due to the Bucks’ frontcourt size. Not only will the team need his defensive instincts to be a huge part of helping Nikola Vucevic protect the rim, but they will likely need him to draw the Giannis Antetokounmpo assignment more often than not. Meanwhile, on the offensive end, he is bound to find himself with several opportunities to be aggressive. The Bucks’ defense will likely be locked in on DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine, which could open driving lanes for Williams and also provide several open catch-and-shoot looks. Again, it might be a bit unfair to expect a 20-year-old to have a significant impact on this series, but the Bulls need it.
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) April 11, 2022
• The Bulls will also need Nikola Vucevic to play some of his best basketball of the season. The big man did have two extremely efficient games against Milwaukee’s drop defense this season, shooting above 60 percent in both. Establishing his jumper on some pick-and-pop from the opening tip could be a huge part of keeping this game close. Also, the two-man game of Vucevic and Zach LaVine will have to be a go-to weapon when DeRozan is off the floor.
Zach LaVine had a total of 13 assists in his two games against the Bucks this season. Nine came to Nikola Vucevic.
He did a rock solid job finding Vucevic in his spots and helping him take advantage of the Bucks’ drop D.
Got to establish this two-man game early in the series. pic.twitter.com/E421Du9B9s
— Elias Schuster (@Schuster_Elias) April 15, 2022
• ROTATE AND EXECUTE. The Bulls’ defense isn’t going to stop Antetokounmpo, but they can prioritize cutting off passing lanes and closing out quickly on perimeter threats. The Bucks move the ball really well, and it’s a big reason why they knock down the 4th-most 3-pointers per game.
• More in here …
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) April 17, 2022