Leading 3-1 in the First-round Series versus the Milwaukee Bucks, the Chicago Bulls had an excellent opportunity to end it at home in the United Center.
The Bulls didn’t get it done, and now, the Bucks survived another elimination game and play Game 6 at home in Milwaukee.
This is now a series, whether the Bulls like it or not.
“They’ve worked their tails off and they’ve put themselves into a position to make it a series,” said coach Jason Kidd, in his first year at the helm.
Chicago fell into a 9-0 hole to start the game and it didn’t get better from there. Michael Carter-Williams, the Rookie of the Year with the Philadelphia 76ers last season, scored 22 points to lead the Bucks. Khris Middletoon, the talented guard, had 21 points for Milwaukee. The Bucks guards outplayed Chicago’s star duo of Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler. Butler had 20 points on 5-21 shooting. He also grabbed 10 boards. Rose, scored 13 points in a frustrating shooting night, going 5-20 from the floor. He was 0-7 from long-distance. Pau Gasol had strong game, scoring 25 points and hauling in 10 rebounds. Joakim Noah added 10 points and Taj Gibson chipped in with 12, off the bench.
As a team, the Bulls shot 34.4% in field goals, 4-22 from 3 point land.
“We didn’t make shots,” said coach Tom Thibodeau. “It’s a make or miss league.”
If you can’t score, you usually don’t win. The Bulls came close, going on 6-0 run in the fourth quarter with 4:45 left, but the Bucks responded when John Henson slammed a putback for a dunk to give the Bucks a 90-83 lead with 3:15 to play.
“They made shots at the right time with tough coverage, ” said Taj Gibson. Winning teams do that and now Chicago finds itself in a high-stakes game 6 at the Bradley Center.
No one thought the Bucks would be giving Chicago all it can handle in this series. But here we are. Kidd has his team poised, focused, and playing with more confidence and that is a dangerous combination. Suddenly this young team has come of age.
Rose had a bad time to have an off night. “He’ll bounce back,” said Thibodeau. “He’s not going to be great in every game.”