Enhanced Box Score: Bucks 105, Bulls 92 — April 6, 2023

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Enhanced Box Score: Bucks 105, Bulls 92 — April 6, 2023

Chicago Bulls

Another slow start had me worried.

I was in the building for tonight’s game, so trust me when I say the Bulls’ offense looked lifeless from the jump. The Bucks defense is designed to discourage opportunities at the rim, and the Bulls fell into their trap immediately.

Six of the team’s first 11 shots were from behind the arc, where they went just 1-5. I counted just one shot attempt at the rim over the first five minutes, which means it came as no surprise the Bulls faced a double-digit deficit for much of the first quarter.

Fortunately, fate started to turn as the Bulls turned to their bench. Khris Middleton joined Giannis Antetokounmpo, Grayson Allen, and Pat Connaughton on the injury report after just 8 minutes of action, only further limiting the Bucks’ depth. The Bulls’ second unit was able to outscore the Bucks’ bench 19-5 to help even the playing field. I especially like head coach Billy Donovan’s decision to turn to Derrick Jones Jr. first over Andre Drummond, as his constant off-ball movement and length led to a quick 5 points with a block and a steal.

Nikola Vucevic also came out with a vengeance. The big man feasted in the first half against the Bucks’ drop defense. He sank some easy jumpers off the pick-and-roll and ended the first half 8-13 with a team-high 18 points. And the Bulls needed all of that with DeMar DeRozan shockingly going scoreless over the first two frames and LaVine starting just 2-8 with 6 points.

Despite the health advantage and a 51-49 lead at halftime, the Bulls struggled to take over the game. They tricked me into a false sense of security when they took a 61-51 lead in the third quarter. The Bucks proceeded to go on an 18-2 run as the Bulls’ offense looked as cold as it did at the start.

Once again, the bench was able to lend a helping hand with Coby White hitting back-to-back buckets to give the Bulls a 72-69 lead. But that was also short-lived as the Bucks went on to grab a 79-76 advantage heading into the 4th.

The Bulls’ troubles only continued from there. Soon enough we saw a slim 83-80 deficit balloon into 91-82. Why? The Bucks’ role players — much like Atlanta’s — were simply outworking the Bulls. Jevon Carter and Wes Matthews both knocked down huge 3s.

The Bucks ended up owning the battle behind the arc 54-30. I know, shocking. They also won the rebounding battle embarrassingly, 53-38. I know losing to this team normally isn’t anything to scream about, but they were missing three rotation players coming into the game, including Giannis. They also had Middleton for just 9 minutes. I don’t care how experienced the rest of this group is, the Bulls have to win the game. And this only feels more true when we consider that Play-In seeding is at stake.

I guess all I can do now is just direct your attention to my post from earlier today. It’s even more true now.

What a disappointment.

Author: Elias Schuster

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