Playoff Pre-Gamin': Bulls at Bucks (5:30 CT) – Game 1 – Lineups, Odds, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

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Playoff Pre-Gamin’: Bulls at Bucks (5:30 CT) – Game 1 – Lineups, Odds, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

Chicago Bulls

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!

Game Info

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)

Projected Starters

Chicago Bulls

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)

Milwaukee Bucks: 

1. Jrue Holiday
2. Wes Matthews
3. Khris Middleton
4. Giannis Antetokounmpo
5. Brook Lopez

Bucks: Jordan Nwora PROBABLE (back soreness)

Odds

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.

•   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.

•   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 …



Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.