Chicago Bulls look to strike back against the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 2

DeMar DeRozan (Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports)
DeMar DeRozan (Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Chicago Bulls have their backs against the wall heading into Game 2 against the Milwaukee Bucks. 

The Milwaukee Bucks took a 1-0 series lead after beating the Chicago Bulls 93-86 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Milwaukee won ugly, but a win is a win no matter how it happens.

Chicago does not want to go down 0-2 to the defending champs.

Someone on that Bulls team is going to have to take over and dominate if they want to beat the Bucks tonight. Don’t expect Milwaukee to have another off game. The Bulls have an extremely tough matchup in Game 2 that could make or break the series.

Milwaukee won ugly in Game 1 on Saturday night. The Bucks scored 34 points in the first quarter and then proceeded to have two quarters where they scored less than 20 points. It was an off night for the Bucks, and that was Chicago’s best chance to steal a road game and take an early lead in the series.

The Bucks franchise player Giannis Antetokounmpo had a very nice performance. He had 27 points, 16 rebounds, and two blocks. On a night where the Bucks were searching for scoring, Antetokounmpo and the rest of his teammates played some smothering defense.

Their defense was able to hold six of Chicago’s 10 players who participated, to seven points or less. Three of those players scored zero points, two of them having played 10 or more minutes. On-brand to the level of intensity that Milwaukee plays with on defense.

That does not mean that Milwaukee is unbeatable. The Bucks had a 16-point lead and almost found a way to lose that game. Chicago stuck around until the end of the game, and they had an awful night scoring the basketball.

Chicago shot 32 percent from the field as a team, and 7-37 from the three-point line, a horrific 19 percent. A playoff game simply can’t be won shooting this bad. Bulls veteran DeMar DeRozan had this to say about his Game 1 performance:

"“No way in hell that I shoot 6-25 again”."

It was not just DeRozan who had struggles on the offensive end. Center Nikola Vucevic went 9-27 from the field even though he still had a team-high 24 points. He also had 17 rebounds in that game but also shot 2-10 from deep.

Zach LaVine was yet another member of the Bulls who had a bad Game 1. Both LaVine and DeRozan scored 18 points. Like Vucevic, LaVine also went 2-10 from the three-point line. It’s hard to win a basketball game with such low shooting numbers.

The Bulls bench did not help the cause either. Javonte Green, Derrick Jones Jr., and Ayo Dosunmu all had no points in Game 1. Tristan Thompson had two points, while Coby White had 12, which was the total of two starting players’ combined points.

Chicago is in must-win territory tonight. Going down 0-2 to the defending champs in the first round would almost surely give Milwaukee the momentum they need. The Bucks are looking to do just that, and make it back to the second round.

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Milwaukee and Chicago will both look to bounce back tonight after shaky Game 1 performances. Will the Bulls be able to steal Game 2, or are the Bucks already looking ahead at their second-round matchup?