Facing Elimination, the Bucks Steal Another Win
*Photo via NBA.com
The Milwaukee Bucks live to fight another day after they beat the Chicago Bulls at the United Center, 94-88, in game five of their first round Eastern Conference matchup.
The Bucks secured their second straight win-or-go-home victory to bring the series to 3-2, forcing a game six to be played at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee.
Game five was extremely competitive throughout, with neither team able to gain a double-digit lead on the other. The Bulls started ice cold, missing their first eight shots and going scoreless for nearly the first five minutes. The Bucks led by as many as nine before the Bulls came back to build a seven point lead of their own, but the first quarter ended with the Bucks leading by a point.
The second quarter was back and forth as well, with five ties and six lead changes, and the Bucks carried a three point lead into halftime.
The Bucks’ defense took control in the second half and they never surrendered the lead the rest of the way. Despite 17 turnovers, the Bucks were able to hold the Bulls to 34 percent from the field, while scoring 24 points off 13 Bulls turnovers. The Bucks were also perfect from the free throw line making all 16 of their attempts, and the Bulls went 22-29 from the line.
Player of the Game: Michael Carter-Williams
Carter-Williams did it all for the Bucks. He scored 22 points on 66 percent shooting with eight rebounds, nine assists and three blocks. His defensive assignment most of the night was Derrick Rose, who had just 13 points on 25 percent shooting.
Dud of the Game: Derrick Rose
Rose got out played and shut down by Carter-Williams. He missed all seven of the three point shots he attempted and turned the ball over a game-high six times. He wasn’t even able to get his teammates going, tallying just two assists.
Stat of the Game:
The Bulls attempted 22 shots from behind the arc and made just four of them. That’s a whopping 18 percent.
Chicago is in serious danger of letting its three-game lead completely slip away. Game five felt like the Bulls were deflated after having a series sweep escape them on a Jerryd Bayless buzzer-beating layup in game four. While Pau Gasol was as consistent as ever, putting up another double-double, Jimmy Butler shot just 24 percent on 21 attempts from the floor. The Bulls will need to put their shooting woes behind them if they hope to avoid going the distance in this series.
The young Bucks are a spirited bunch, and their home crowd is sure to be excited for Game 6 after two straight gritty wins. However, the Bulls are not likely to be as cold as they were in game 5 again, so Milwaukee will look to generate more production on the offensive end. They will also need to take better care of the ball in order to do so.
Game 6 will be Thursday on TNT, with the time of tip-off yet to be determined.