Bulls suffer their worst home playoff loss ever as Bucks dominate

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CHICAGO (CBS/AP) — The hype was high Friday night for the Bulls’ first playoff game at the United Center in five years after they had just evened up the series against the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks.

Bulls fans may have felt like the home team could take control of the series. But that was not what happened.

Instead, it was the Bucks, without Khris Middleton, in control of the game from the jump. Grayson Allen – the opposite of a fan favorite in Chicago – had 22 points and was five-for-seven from the three-point line.

Giannis Antetokounmpo added 18 points for the Bucks, and Bobby Portis had 18 points and 16 rebounds.  The Bucks led by 24 in the second quarter and remained in control the rest of the way.

Antetokounmpo scored all but two of his points after the first quarter. The two-time MVP finished with nine assists and seven rebounds.

Jrue Holiday added 16.

For the Bulls, Nikola Vucevic was pretty much the only player doing anything. He had 19 points, Zach LaVine had 15, and DeMar DeRozan finished with just 11 after setting a career playoff high with 41 in Game 2.

The Bucks had it going right from the start, racing out to a 60-41 halftime lead even with Middleton sidelined.

Allen helped squash the “Let’s go Bulls!” chants, nailing four 3s and scoring 14 in the half. That had to make it even tougher for fans still upset about his hard foul that resulted in a broken wrist for Alex Caruso during a game in Milwaukee in January. They showered him with boos but couldn’t throw him off his game.

Antetokounmpo started a 13-0 run early in the second quarter with a 19-footer and dunk. And Allen finished it with a driving layup that bumped the lead to 46-22.

All in all, it was a complete blow out for the Bulls. The Bucks handed the Bulls their worst home playoff loss ever – 111-81 – to take a 2-1 series lead.

“I thought we lost our way, you know, when we had a hard time scoring and making shots, and you know, they obviously shot the ball better from three tonight – and I think when that started happening, I thought we had way, way too many breakdowns on defense,” said Bulls Head Coach Billy Donovan. “I think for some of our younger guys, hopefully a good learning experience of what it means to go to another level – because I thought they went to another level, and we did not.”

TIP-INS

Bucks: Portis wore goggles after missing most of Game 2 with a right eye abrasion. He took a hit to the face from Chicago’s Tristan Thompson late in the first quarter Wednesday as both players were going after a rebound. … G George Hill (abdominal strain) missed his fourth game in a row. And coach Mike Budenholzer said he doesn’t appear close to returning. … Milwaukee has won 12 of 13 at the United Center dating to the 2016-17 season

Bulls: The Bulls have not won a home playoff game since beating Cleveland in Game 3 of the 2015 Eastern Conference semifinals. Chicago lost that series in six games. … Assistant coaches Chris Fleming and Damian Cotter were back with the team after missing the first two games because of COVID-19. Assistant Maurice Cheeks, however, was out because of a non-COVID illness, coach Billy Donovan said.



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