The 3rd seed Milwaukee Bucks are poised to make a second consecutive title run as they battle the 6th seed Chicago Bulls in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
Few are giving the Bulls a chance in this series, with the Bucks having won all 4 regular-season matchups between the two teams.
Let’s take a look at how this Bucks vs Bulls series will play out.
Bucks vs Bulls First Round Preview
Can the Bulls Pull Off the Upset?
Unfortunately, injuries to Ball, Caruso, Patrick Williams, and Zach LaVine derailed the Bulls’ season and they practically limped into the playoffs. Ball will likely not return for this series, putting more pressure on Caruso, Coby White and 2nd round pick Ayo Dosunmu to stabilize the backcourt. Caruso brings some playoff experience from his time with the Lakers. He might be playing with an extra chip on his shoulder after suffering an injury at the hands of the Bucks’ Grayson Allen during the regular season. his defensive presence will be heavily relied upon if the Bulls want to contend with the Bucks’ firepower.
Vucevic is a potential x-factor in this series and can stretch the Bucks’ defense with his perimeter game. Lavine will need to put his best offensive effort forward to take pressure off of DeRozan, who’s coming off a career-best campaign. The Bucks’ opponents take the most number of 3-point attempts per game. The Bulls have the shooters to capitalize if their shots go in.
The return of Williams could be the biggest key for the Bulls slowing down superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo. Williams is a defensive stalwart. He’s the one player on the Bulls roster with the combination of speed and length needed to give Giannis fits.
Keys for the Bucks
The Bucks were inconsistent at times this season but have found their form as of late, winning 14 of their final 20 games. The late-season return of Brook Lopez helped stabilize the front-court, although Bobby Portis enjoyed a career year in Lopez’s absence.
Giannis – the Greek Freak – had his best season ever. Coming off his first NBA championship, he’s going to be hungry to add some new hardware to his mantle.
Coach Budenholzer has a deep 9-man rotation at his disposal that should prove too much for the Bulls to overcome. Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday are bonafide 1B stars to Giannis’ 1A. Holiday is one of the best defensive guards in the league, averaging nearly 2 steals per game. Portis and Lopez offer a unique blend of versatility on both sides of the ball. Grayson Allen, Pat Connaughton, and Wes Matthews provide depth on the wing and any of them can provide firepower off the bench when called upon.
The Bucks have found success against the Bulls in the regular season. They should have enough game film to continue to exploit the Bulls’ weaknesses in the playoffs.
Bucks vs Bulls First Round Prediction
The Bulls peaked early in the season and have found themselves in a tough spot against a seasoned juggernaut. With depth, playoff experience, and home-court advantage, the Bucks should cruise to a first-round victory.
Bucks in 5.
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