In a surprising turn of events Saturday night in Chicago, it was offense that ruled the day in a series that pits two of the NBA’s best defensive teams against each other.
The Bulls took advantage of poor Milwaukee Bucks defense to score 60 first half points, en route to a 103-91 win in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Playoff Series.
Marquette alum Jimmy Butler led all scorers with 25 points, while backcourt mate and former MVP Derrick Rose added 23. Rose finished 9-of-16 from the floor, connecting on a flurry of fierce drives to the basket and deep 3’s.
Khris Middleton paced the Milwaukee attack with 18 points. Ersan Ilyasova added 15, with three others scoring in double figures.
The Bucks shot just 39% from the field, including 4-of-16 from behind the arc, while Chicago made 12-of-32 attempts from deep.
Close early, Milwaukee led for portions of the first half, but went to the halftime break down 60-51. Chicago would go on to be the first team to score 100 points in the five games played between the two rivals this season.
The Bulls also controlled the glass, outrebounding the Bucks by a 52-41 margin.
The series continues Monday at the United Center with Game 2 of the best-of-7. Tip off is at 7pm (TNT or FS Wisconsin). Games 3 and 4 will be played at the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Thursday and Saturday, respectively.