The Milwaukee Bucks took an important victory this morning against the Bulls by 94-90. In a low-point clash between two loss-limited Eastern powerhouses, the defending champions managed to prevail and become the third team in the conference with 29 wins, throwing the upper reaches of the standings into complete chaos. Right now, only 1.5 games separate those from Wisconsin, fourth, from the Nets, leaders, an equality that promises to bring many comings and goings in the last months of the regular season.
Tonight’s was also a very tight and changeable match, which had up to 16 changes of leader on the scoreboard and 15 draws. The two teams were below 40% in field goals and 20% in triples, which prevented either of them from escaping and led to a clash of very short distances, a context in which the locals knew how to be more decisive to defeat some Bulls that are still without Zach Lavine and that have confirmed the loss of Lonzo Ball for between 4 and 6 weeks. Budenholzer’s men, for their part, have not yet been able to recover Brook Lopez, and although they have managed to count on Jrue Holiday again, the point guard had to leave the bench for the second night in a row due to his minute restrictions.
However, no problem seems excessive for the Wisconsin team as long as they continue to have Giannis Antetokounmpo, who with his 30 points and 12 rebounds was once again the best of their team. Although not even he ended up being as effective as usual (11/23 shooting), he was undoubtedly the great offensive reference of a Bucks denied in terms of accuracy. Khris Middleton, with 16 points, was the team’s second scorer, followed by Holiday’s 13 and Bobby Portis’ 12.
“In the end, a win is a win,” said Giannis. “We have done what needed to be done and we have continued to create positive habits.”
The Bulls were not fine either, in which only DeMar DeRozan shone with 35 points. Still, even he needed 18 trips to the free throw line to add up, as he too was having trouble getting comfortable. Nikola Vucevic, for his part, finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds, adding another double-double to his collection.
Hard and controversial lack of Allen to Caruso
The clash was not without controversy, as Billy Donovan left unhappy with a hard foul by Grayson Allen on Alex Caruso when he was trying to finish a layup. The one from the Bulls hit the ground hard and needed a few minutes to get back up, and the action finally ended with the expulsion of the Milwaukee shooting guard. This, however, did not satisfy the visitors, who criticized the risk of the action.
“With Alex in the air, grabbing him and throwing him to the ground like that could have ended his career,” Donovan said. “Allen already has a history of plays like that. For me, this has been truly dangerous. I hope the league makes a decision on that, because it could have had very serious consequences for Caruso.”
(Cover photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images)