Series Preview: Chicago Bulls vs. Milwaukee Bucks
*Photo via AP
The third seed, the Chicago Bulls(50-32) will take on the sixth seed, Milwaukee Bucks(41-41). In what could be an interesting first-round matchup.
The Bulls have had an injury plagued season, but thanks to a solid bench they still had a successful year. Now that everyone is healthy, they have a shot to make a deep playoff run. The only issue is the starters haven’t had much time together, something to keep an eye on. And as always the other big question will be what version of Derrick Rose will we see.
The Bucks on the other hand, surprised most by making the playoffs. Last season they were one of the worst teams in the league and this season they locked up a sixth seed. It has been a pretty impressive season for the Bucks, a lot of credit goes to the Bucks’ new head coach Jason Kidd. He has them playing a type of basketball that fits them well and has helped players like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton take their games to another level.
Both of these teams like to get after it defensively, the Bucks finished second in defensive efficiency with a rating of 99.3 . The Bulls were not far behind, finishing eleventh in defensive efficiency with a rating of 101.5 . The difference in this series will be who can score on the opposing defense. Something that will likely be in favor of the Bulls, especially when it comes to half-court offense.
As you can see below during the season series, no game hit over a 100 points and the those totals will likely be even lower in this series.
Bulls over Bucks 95-86
Bulls over Bucks 95-89
Bulls over Bucks 87-71
Bucks over Bulls 95-91
-One major advantage for the Bulls will be their bigs, Pau Gasol is having a career year and is exactly the type of player who can get you buckets in the post. Something that is a great asset come playoff time. Not to mention they have Joakim Noah, who takes his game to a whole different level in the playoffs. And wait, they have Taj Gibson and Nikola Mirotic off the bench, this is a huge advantage for the Bulls.
-The Bulls also have a ton of playoff experience, something you can’t say for the Bucks. The Bulls have constantly been in the playoffs and have had some success. They also have a deep playoff run in mind, so they will be focused and know what it takes to win this series.
-The concern for the Bulls will always be injuries. Almost all of the starters have missed some time due to injury this season. One false move and the Bulls could be without an important player for the whole series. They do have a solid bench, which helps deal with this issue.
-There also is a little concern about the chemistry of the Bulls, the starters have only started 22 games together this season. So there can be some chemistry issues and adjustments needed, something you don’t want to deal with come playoff time.
Derrick Rose seems to always be the x-factor for the Bulls. Rose can be the difference between having a quick series or this thing dragging out.
-A flaw that can be viewed as an advantage for the Bucks, is their youth. They will be hungry and have no pressure, allowing them to go all out. The Bulls could also have trouble dealing with the Bucks’ athleticism, the Bulls aren’t exactly young. The Bucks on the other hand have some of the best athletes in their league on their roster, like the “Greek Freak”.
-The Bucks don’t exactly have one of the best half court offenses in the NBA, they like to grab a lot of baskets on fast breaks. A lot of that comes off of steals, which they are one of the top teams in the league at getting. The problem is that turnovers are harder to force come playoff time, so the Bucks will be forced to find other ways to score, something that can be an issue for the Bucks.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has a ton of potential, if he can take his game to another level this series. It could be a huge headache for the Bulls
Game 1: MIL vs. CHI Saturday at 7:00 pm on ESPN
Game 2: MIL vs. CHI Monday at 8:00pm on TNT
Game 3: CHI vs. MIL Thursday at 8:00pm on NBATV
Prediction: The Bucks will compete, but the Gasol and Noah will be to much to handle for the Bucks inside. The Bulls will win in six games.