After a 29-point loss at the hands of the Boston Celtics on Wednesday, the Chicago Bulls entered Friday night’s game with the Milwaukee Bucks (10-4) with a shameful 4-11 record.
Getting off to a fast start that saw them reach a lead as large as 22 points in the 1st half, optimist would have liked to believe that this was an indication of a great night for the Bulls.
Justin Holiday was a perfect 6-6 from behind the arc with 18 points, while Jabari Parker was 7-12 with 17 points in the first 48 minutes for the Bulls on Friday night.
Unfortunately for the Bulls, they had to come out of the locker room to play the 2nd half.
Despite starting the 3rd Quarter with an 18-point lead, the Bulls fell flat and were outscored 46-17 by the time the buzzer sounded taking both teams to the 4th Quarter.
Friday night’s contest was a true tale of two halves of basketball.
Milwaukee, who were seemingly going through the motions and not up to par in the 1st half, did a complete 180.
Not only did the Bucks come from behind for the win, but they did so convincingly by a final score of 123-104, outscoring the Bulls 78-41 in the 2nd half.
“We knew that we didn’t play hard enough in the 1st half. We went to the locker room and Coach [Mike Budenholzer] told us that we gotta pick up the pace. Pick up the energy. Play with more effort. So that’s what we did,” said Giannis Antetkounmpo in a postgame interview.
While Giannis finished the game with 23 points 13 rebounds and 4 blocks, he credited his entire team with stopping Bulls players Justin Holiday and Jabari Parker from getting easy baskets and their rebounding with fueling their offense.
Despite their respective hot starts, Holiday ended the game 6-9 from deep (20 points) and Parker finished with a season high 21 points in his return to Milwaukee since signing with the Bulls this summer. Zach Lavine, who has been a star so far this season for the Bulls finished with just 15 points, shooting 6-of-20 from the field.
The Bucks were propelled to their 19-point victory because of many factors. They had three starters with over 20 points. They out-rebounded the Bulls 55-36. In the 2nd half, Milwaukee was 12-26 (18-43) from behind the arc, while the Bulls went 2-17 (13-33).
“We can be really dangerous [offensively]. Everybody can make shots. Most importantly, we’re having fun,” said Antetokounmpo after the game.
The Bucks are having fun indeed. With their victory Friday night, their record moves to 11-4. They are off to their best start since the 1990-91 season where they finished 4th in the Eastern Conference.
The Bulls on the other hand will have to have short memories and move on from this loss quickly. They are set to face off against the Eastern Conference leading Toronto Raptors (12-4) tonight at the United Center.