The Chicago Bulls got their swagger back in Game 2 win over BucksRyan Heckmanon April 21, 2022 at 4:07 pm

With just 4.9 seconds left in the game, the Chicago Bulls were up 114-109 and could taste a Game 2 victory. As Giannis Antetokounmpo drove the lane, one particular player was awaiting him.

The Bucks needed a basket, and in a hurry, so everybody knew what the plan was going to be. It was going to be Giannis and he was going to drive hard.

Meeting him in the lane, standing strong and upright, was Alex Caruso, who took the charge which sealed Chicago’s victory.

That play, above any other play in this entire game for the Bulls, was the statement and summary of how this team found a way to win. Caruso taking the beating, hitting the floor, and standing up in passion and excitement was the very definition of this Bulls team finding their swagger once again.

For the first time in a couple of months, Alex Caruso and the Chicago Bulls looked right.

It had been a long two months leading up to the postseason for these Bulls. After once standing atop the Eastern Conference, Chicago of course fell to the sixth seed after one epic collapse during the second half of the season.

In Game 1, it almost looked like more of the same was on the horizon. When the Bucks took a 16-point lead, every Bulls fan was rolling their eyes and thinking to themselves, “Here we go again.”

But, from specifically the second half of Game 1 and on, the Bulls have been a different team — and the catalyst has been Caruso.

Coach Donovan on @ACFresh21:

“He is a guy that will not shortcut or rest on the court. He will give you everything he has.” pic.twitter.com/fWMiUVKrit

— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) April 21, 2022

Billy Donovan’s decision to start Caruso at point guard is paying dividends. His intensity on defense and vision on offense are truly the difference-makers for every other player on the floor while he’s out there.

Caruso is just 6-foot-5 but is out there taking on the likes of Giannis at times, and even coming up with a block on the former MVP. Defensively, Caruso has had his nose everywhere. In Game 2, he had the highest plus/minus for Chicago at +16. He ended the night with nine points, 10 assists, two steals, two blocks and just one turnover and foul apiece.

Those nine points don’t seem like much, either, but they came from Caruso hitting 3-of-7 three-pointers — and his shot looks the smoothest it’s been all season long. This is a guy finding his groove, offensively, and continuing his heroic efforts on defense.

He’s been absolutely contagious. What Caruso has brought to this team, now in the playoffs, is exactly what every one of his teammates has been in need of.

For a couple of months, this team has lacked a vocal, passionate leader on the court. Finally, they have found one in Caruso — and he has single-handedly turned the tide of this first round series.

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