The Bucks rebound from a large deficit to defeat the Bulls 93-86

The reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks had to rely on their defense in their playoff opening on a night when their typically explosive offense struggled to find solutions. Fortunately for the Bucks, that was the one area of their game where they excelled. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 27 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to lead the third-seeded Milwaukee Bucks to a 93-86 victory against the sixth-seeded Chicago Bulls in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series on Sunday.

“We have to win the ugly games,” said Jrue Holiday, whose 3-pointer with 5:03 remaining gave the Bucks a one-possession lead. “I had the impression that today was unpleasant. It was a struggle, a difficult one, but a nasty one.”

Holiday’s three-pointer was part of an 8-0 run by the Bucks to take an 85-78 lead. The Bulls closed the gap to one but were never able to reclaim the lead, as Zach LaVine missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer from over 30 feet away with 29 seconds remaining.

“I felt that was an excellent shot,” LaVine explained. “We were three down. I have a really clean appearance.” Milwaukee overcame its offensive woes by restricting the Bulls to their lowest single-game point total of the season. In their first playoff appearance in five years, the Bulls shot a season-low 32.3 percent from the field. They converted seven of their 37 three-point shots.

The Bulls shot 6 of 28 and 1 of 12 from 3-point range in the fourth quarter. “Every shot I took tonight felt fantastic,” DeMar DeRozan said after scoring 18 points on 6-of-25 shooting. “I can assure you that neither me, Zach, nor Vooch (Nikola Vucevic) will miss that many shots again.”

The Bucks, who have won 17 of their past 18 games with the Bulls, jumped out to an early 32-16 lead and appeared to be on their way to putting this game out of reach. However, they struggled to score the remaining goals.


Written by Joe Tussing

Joe Tussing is a former professoional MMA fighter and current trainer with more than 20 years experience in combat sports. Tussing is a writer, reporter and MMA personality living in Las Vegas.

Jaedyn Rucker is a nationally ranked gymnast