Author Topic: Chicago rides Jimmy Butler's 31 points to a 2-0 series lead over Milwaukee  (Read 288 times)

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CHICAGO – It came two days late and just as many dollars short, but the Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks finally came through with the sort of hash mark-heavy, ugly basketball we anticipated before their first round series even began. The Bulls prevailed by a 91-82 scoreAlbert Pujols Jersey in Game 2 of its first round series, but not before Milwaukee reminded them that this was supposed to be a defensive-minded run reminiscent of the chilly Central Division.

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Milwaukee held Chicago to 11 points in the first quarter, the fewest amount of points Chicago has scored in any playoff quarter in the team’s postseason history. Unlike the freewheeling Game 1, one that saw both teams combine for 59 points, the Bucks set the tone early by diving into its defensive sets quickly and forcing Chicago away from its ball movement. Derrick Rose, who set the tone with 23 points and seven assists in the opener, was forced into good but hurried looks both inside and outside – he missed his first nine shots from the field before hitting true in the third quarter.

The Bucks relented in a crucial second quarter, however, utilizing spacing as Milwaukee lost its edge. By the time Rose’s touch returned in the second half, Bulls All-Star Jimmy Butler was ready to dominate – he topped off an eight-point second quarter with seven more in the third, while Rose managed 12 points.

Following the win, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau credited Rose for his all-around work prior to his mini scoring burst, telling media that “once he gets lost in the game,”Albert Pujols Authentic Jersey the 2011 NBA MVP can turn explosive again. Rose, who played a lengthy-for-him 38 minutes in the win, managed nine assists and seven rebounds on top of what turned into 15 points on 14 shots.

This was Jimmy Butler’s game, however.

The Chicago All-Star absolutely took over in the fourth quarter, despite entering the period after missing all six of his three-pointers and an uncharacteristic four free throws. Butler hit for 14 points as the Bulls outscored Milwaukee by six in the final period, nailing four of five shots on his way toward 31 points in total.

“They were literally telling me to shoot,” Butler explained after the game, as his team entered the fourth quarter with just 71 points to its credit, before deflecting the credit to his backcourt partner and an unselfish frontcourt that features Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah.

“I think I took a lot of bad shots that happened to go in,” Butler offered, “All because of [Rose] and Pau and Joakim I feel like I have a pretty easy job.”

Perhaps, as that frontcourt is to be lauded for its performance on the glass. Once again, Noah looked as if he could barely get off the ground, and yet he used savvy, timing and length to haul in 15 defensive rebounds and 19 in total, as Gasol managed 16 caroms on his own alongside four blocks.

Following the contest, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau seemed to deflect every question toward Gasol’s direction. Even in one of his worst shooting games (4-12) as a Bull, Gasol still cleared space on both ends. “I want us to play with intelligence and play together,” Thibodeau pointed out, and few NBA players try to encourage as much as the 34-year old future Hall of Famer from Spain.

Faced with his team’s 64-48 rebounding deficit, Bucks coach Jason Kidd was sanguine. “This is a learning experience for us,” he reminded. “They held serve here, now we have to go back home and do the same.”

This is true, with Game 3 in Milwaukee set to tip off on Thursday, but the Bucks are also staring own the off-ridiculed idea of “United Center North,” as scads of Bulls fans routinely make the short trip up Interstate 94 to dot the former Bradley Center with all manner of red apparel and Richard Daley-styled hard “a”- pronunciations.

Jimmy Butler, who went to college in Marquette and played his NCAA basketball in the same building Games 3 and 4 will take place, wordlessly laughed off any insinuation that the next two contests would serve as veritable home games for the Bulls.

Joakim Noah, however, wasn’t having any of it:

“I’ve never met anyone so excited for a shootaround” in Milwaukee, Noah offered, which should keep Chicago fans grinning as they move forward. On top of that nudge, the Bulls and Bucks managed to make it through two different playoff-styled post-foul scrums without any hint of a potential suspension – only Zaza Pachulia was ejected for a second technical, neither earned in the same would-be fight. These guys even know how to jaw professionally, it seems.

The idea of healthy amount of Chicago support in Wisconsin won’t carry the Bulls to a commanding 3-0 lead on its own, however. The Bucks have proven they can both limit the Bulls to miniscule scoring amounts and keep up in a shootout with Chicago.

It’s true that both of these hallmarks came in the two first quarters of this series, but Milwaukee was up three points with ten minutes to play in Game 2, and they seem a few O.J. Mayo (4-17 on the series) or Giannis Antetokounmpo (6-24) buckets away from holding serve. Albert Pujols Womens Jersey Both have been afforded good looks by an up and down Chicago defense, and both could be the difference in Milwaukee. Meanwhile, standout Bulls rookie Nikola Mirotic looks frustrated while playing at small forward, and he left Game 2 in the final minute with what was called a left quad strain.

“I feel,” Jason Kidd maintained after the game, “we’re getting better with each game and confidence is growing. I think as a team we’ve gotten better each time we took the floor. This is a learning experience for us.”

That much is true. Now this needs to turn into a growing experience for a Bucks team that could be facing the final few days of its season.


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