The Milwaukee Bucks opened some eyes around the NBA last night, marching into Chicago and doing what most thought they couldn’t, beat the Bulls 94-88 at the United Center.
After trailing 3-0 in the series, the Bucks have won two straight to cut their Eastern Conference series deficit to 3-2 with game 6 back in Milwaukee on Thursday night (6 p.m.).
Point guard Michael-Carter Williams suffered an ankle sprain in the third quarter, but returned to the lineup to lead the Bucks with 22 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. Khris Middleton added 21 points.
The Bucks defense held Chicago to 34% shooting from the field and 18% from three-point range (4-22). They held Jimmy Butler to 5 of 21 from the field and Derrick Rose to 5 of 20.
Center John Henson had another solid performance off the bench, scoring eight points and 14 rebounds.
The Bucks outscored the Bulls in the paint 46-36 and outrebounded Chicago 48-45.
The Bucks have been at or near the top of the league in many defensive categories this season. Coach Jason Kidd’s defensive influence on his team has grown in the post season.
It’s the Bucks who are taking care of the ball on offense and forcing turnovers on defense. They’re making life difficult on the Bulls and it would appear that O.J. Mayo got into Jimmy Butler’s head last night. Mayo had the crowd in Chicago against him, he stirred the pot and ruffled some feathers.
Now the series comes back to Milwaukee the Bucks have the Bulls on their heals. Momentum is with the Bucks. We’ll see if they can parlay that into a game 6 victory on Thursday with a return trip to Chicago for a game 7.