Whatever ground the Bulls might have seemed to have gained on the Bucks with a 114-110 victory in Game 2 of the teams’ first-round playoff series, they gave it all back — and then some — from start to finish of an unspeakably foul performance in Game 3. Was it really only 111-81? Because it looked more like 181-11.
But it wasn’t just the Bulls “giving,” of course. There was a whole lot of Bucks taking, too, and the league’s defending champions never looked so greedy.
So what now? Do the Bulls have a chance to draw even again in Sunday’s Game 4 at the United Center? Or is this thing all but over, healthy Khris Middleton or, as is the case, not?
“If we stick to our game plan and execute the way we’re supposed to,” Zach LaVine said, “I think we’ll be all right.”
Yeah, well, not many of us would’ve imagined the Bulls following up a road win with the worst home playoff loss in franchise history.
“A loss is a loss,” DeMar DeRozan said. “With that, we’ve got to come back regardless and protect our home floor, you know? … Now we get an opportunity to tie this thing up Sunday on our home court, and that’s what we’re going to go out there and do.”
Sounds like a plan, if not a guarantee. But a plan that’s actually going to, ahem, work? That’s a very different question. And here’s what’s happening:
Bucks at Bulls, Game 4 (noon, Ch. 7)
Not to tell Bulls coach Billy Donovan how to do his job, but we suggest dialing up a game plan that doesn’t involve falling behind by three touchdowns in the first quarter.
Heat at Hawks, Game 4 (6 p.m., TNT)
Are Trae Young and the Hawks really going to tie things up and make this a series? And why are we suddenly imagining Jimmy Butler heaving a chair across the visitors’ locker room?
Suns at Pelicans, Game 4 (8:30 p.m., TNT)
Things got spicy between these teams in Game 3, with the Suns being pushed harder than they probably expected to be. Another forearm shiver or two and we’ll really have something here.
Celtics at Nets, Game 4 (6 p.m., TNT)
It’s all-out desperation mode for Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and a Brooklyn squad that many saw as a title favorite — and that was before the enormous contributions of Ben Simmons.
Flyers at Blackhawks (7 p.m., ESPN+, Hulu)
Let’s be honest: If these teams traded uniforms before the third period, would anyone notice?
Photo by David Berding/Getty Images
Royals at White Sox (6:10 p.m., NBCSCH)
Lately, the Sox can’t hit the ball, field the ball, stay healthy or keep from getting suspended. Other than that, they’re a well-oiled machine.
Mets at Cardinals (6:45 p.m., TBS)
Who do the Mets think they are, the best team in baseball? Blink and you’ll miss at least two Pete Alonso RBI.
Bulls at Bucks, Game 5 (TBD)
At least the Bulls know they can win at Fiserv Forum. After all, they’ve done it — oh, boy — once in their last eight tries.
Royals at White Sox (1:10 p.m., NBCSCH)
OK, so it’s a tad unconventional, but maybe the Sox can avoid a catastrophe or two if Tony La Russa starts benching players for hustling down the first-base line?
Cubs at Braves (6:20 p.m., Marquee)
We don’t know what’s going to happen, though it probably won’t involve Anthony Rizzo pitching to Freddie Freeman or chasing after him in a rundown and yelling, “Frederick!” Sigh.
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images
Blackhawks at Sabres (6 p.m., NBCSCH)
Is it here already? Boy, the good times just flew right on by. Enjoy the season finale, puckheads.
Cubs at Brewers (7:10 p.m., Marquee)
The Cubs are off to a 2-1 start in the season series but still have a heck of a long way to go to make up for last year’s 3-13 debacle.
Bucks at Bulls, Game 6, if necessary (TBD)
Necessary or not, who are we kidding? It’s necessary.
Angels at White Sox (3:05 p.m., FS1, NBCSCH)
People are still giving Angels manager Joe Maddon grief for having his pitcher intentionally walk home a run the other day. At least he didn’t bring a clown, a magician or a zoo animal out of the bullpen to do it.
Racing Louisville at Red Stars (7 p.m., Paramount+)
The regular season begins, and everybody is talking about the Red Stars’ new “Skyscraper” kits. At least, everybody who knows how to find a Red Stars game on Paramount+ is.
Red Bulls at Fire (7 p.m., Ch. 9)
You have to like the Fire’s chances to avoid defeat if they employ their customary strategy: “We promise not to score any goals if you don’t.”