Milwaukee (AP) The Milwaukee Bucks, defending NBA champions, continue to produce in the postseason even without key players.
the chicago bulls just don’t have that kind of depth or experience in the playoffs.
Reading: Bucks vs bulls box score
giannis antetokounmpo had 33 points and nine rebounds as the bucks defeated the bulls 116-100 on Wednesday night to end their first-round series in five games.
The Bucks have won the last three games by an average of 23.3 points despite playing without Khris Middleton, the star who sprained the MCL in his left knee during the fourth quarter of Game 2.
The third-seeded Bucks advanced to meet second-seeded Boston in the Eastern Conference semifinals, with Game 1 on Sunday in Boston. the celtics swept brooklyn.
”After game 2, we talked about how we knew what the deal was,” antetokounmpo said. ”The team knew what the deal was. we knew what we had to do. we had to be desperate. we had to go out there and compete at a high level, pay attention to detail as much as possible, help each other defensively. we have to do it as a team.”
Dollars have been through this before. they won their first title since 1971 last season despite losing antetokounmpo in the final two games of the eastern conference finals due to a hyperextended knee
“We’ve been talking a lot about roster depth, roster quality this season,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “Other guys have had opportunities and played well. our defense has toughened up and we’ve leaned heavily on that these three games. we have depth. we have a good group.”
antetokounpmo seemed to have his left wrist treated during the first half, but that clearly didn’t limit his effectiveness. Antetokounmpo said afterward that he felt “very good,” and Budenholzer added that “we think he’s fine.”
while the dollars prospered without middleton, chicago did not handle the loss of key players as well.
the bulls played without the starting backcourt they used for the first four games because two-time all-star zach lavine was in health and safety protocols and alex caruso was in concussion protocol. without them on the court, the bulls fell behind by up to 29 points in the first half.
”this was the first rodeo for a lot of our guys, just understanding what it’s like to compete in a playoff series,” said demar derozan of chicago. “There’s a lot you can learn from that experience, especially against defending champions.”
milwaukee focused on containing derozan, who had scored 41 points in the bulls’ game 2 victory. Derozan was limited to 11 points Wednesday as he shot 5-for-10, though he also had seven assists.
”That was the game plan: make him see a lot of bodies and force everyone else to beat us,” Bucks guard Wesley Matthews said.
antetokounmpo was 1-for-15 from the floor and 11-for-14 from the free throw line. Pat Connaughton went 6-for-9 on 3-point attempts and scored 20 points. Bobby Portis added 14 points and a career-high 17 rebounds.
patrick williams scored 23 points, nikola vucevic 19 and coby white 17 for the bulls. vucevic also had 16 rebounds and six assists.
derozan did not score in the first 26 minutes of the game and attempted just one shot in the first quarter as he tried to get his teammates involved.
the problem was that the other chicago players weren’t taking open shots, which allowed the bucks to take control early.
”It was pretty obvious they were going to charge Demar,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said. ”I think he played a great game. I thought it generated good shots. he didn’t have a high assist total because we didn’t really shoot the ball particularly well, but he would have had a tremendous amount of assists if we had shot better.”
milwaukee took the lead for 3 1/2 minutes and built a double-digit lead by scoring 12 straight points in the first quarter. Late in the first period, the Bucks started a 23-2 run that helped them extend the lead to 49-20 with 7:25 left in the second period.
chicago outscored the bucks 22-11 the rest of the second quarter and cut the margin to 11 on ayo dosunmu’s 3-point play with 9:32 left in the third quarter, but that’s as close as they got be the bulls.
Bulls: The Bulls attempted 52 shots from the 3-point line and only 40 from inside the arc. Chicago made just 28.8% of his 3-point shots. … The Bulls haven’t advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs since 2015, when they beat the Bucks before losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern semifinals. . With Lavine and Caruso unavailable, Javonte Green and Dosunmu made their first career playoff starts.
Bucks: Reserve guard George Hill has yet to play in this postseason because of an abdominal strain. Hill had been listed as questionable on Wednesday’s injury report before being ruled out, an indication that he is nearing a comeback. Budenholzer said before the game that Hill is “progressing” but added that he “needs more time.” … the Bucks have won 20 of their last 22 meetings with the Bulls. … jrue holiday had 10 points and nine assists, but also had six turnovers.