The good and bad from the Chicago Bulls Game 1 loss to the BucksTodd Welteron April 18, 2022 at 12:00 pm

The Chicago Bulls had a chance to steal a win in Milwaukee. Instead, the Bulls snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

The Chicago Bulls’ defense held the Milwaukee Bucks to just 40.5% shooting from the field and 26.3% from three-point range. Despite the good defensive effort, the Bulls dropped Game 1 of the Eastern Conference first-round 93-86 in Milwaukee.

The Chicago Bulls shot a paltry 32.3% from the field and made just seven three-pointers.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a game-high 27 points for the Bucks. Nikola Vucevic scored a team-high 24 points for the Bulls-we will get to him later.

The Chicago Bulls led by as many as five late in the third quarter. The Bucks outscored the Bulls 29-17 the rest of the game to escape with the narrow win.

The Bulls had Giannis in foul trouble in the fourth quarter but failed to attack him in the post or on the drive to get him to pick his sixth foul.

The Chicago Bulls got one good performance, one okay performance, and one that on the surface looked good but was poor.

Alex Caruso had a really good defensive game.

Caruso returned to the scene where he injured his wrist on a controversial foul by Grayson Allen back in January

Caruso only scored seven points but he made Khris Middleton miserable with his defense. Middleton scored just 11 points, made just four field goals, and had one three-pointer.

Caruso also made a heads-up play to draw a charge as Giannis picked up his fifth foul. Caruso was a one-man wrecking crew against the Bucks’ offense.

#Bucks are a mess right now. Alex Caruso just causing all sorts of problems

— Kaitlin Sharkey (@KRoseSharkey) April 18, 2022

Caruso made a layup with 1:36 left that pulled the Bulls within one of the Bucks. That caused the Bucks to sweat out the rest of the game. Caruso could have had a great night had he made a few more three-pointers.

He was part of an effort to completely erase Middleton from the game so that still makes for a good night.

Zach Lavine had an okay first-ever playoff game.

Lavine played in his first career playoff game and finished with a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds.

Zach heated up in the third quarter with seven quick points. That scoring outburst was part of a 24-11 third-quarter run that led to the Bulls finally getting a lead in the game.

Zach is heating up…@ZachLaVine | #SeeRed pic.twitter.com/GorM9GEITq

— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) April 18, 2022

Lavine cooled off after that and did not make a bucket in the fourth quarter. He had a chance to the tie game late in the fourth but opted to put up a 30-foot three-point attempt that missed.

Sometimes Zach LaVine’s confidence outweighs game-situation and reality.

— Joe Cowley (@JCowleyHoops) April 18, 2022

Otherwise, Lavine did all right for a guy who never played a playoff game in his eight-year career.

Nikola Vucevic chucking up three-point shots led to a bad night despite his good-looking box score.

The record will show Vucevic scored 24 points and pulled down 17 rebounds. To the naked eye, it would seem like Vucevic was the only Bulls player to play well.

In reality, Vucevic was just throwing up shots-a lot of them

Vooch was 9-of-27 from the field and 2-of-10 from three-point range. He played like he was 6’3? on offense most of the night by just hanging out on the perimeter looking to shoot. Shoot is what he did and missed attempts are usually what he got. His 24 points were based on volume and not efficiency.

He did all right scoring in the post.

There is a need to have him out on the perimeter to space the court. This game was not one of those where contests where Vucevic would be clogging up the lane.

The Chicago Bulls only got 37% of their points from the paint. Brook Lopez, Bobby Portis, and Giannis also made driving to the basket hard for the Bulls with their ability to alter shots. It was not like Vucevic needed to be out on the perimeter for what seemed the entire game.

The epitaph on the Nikola Vucevic era in Chicago: “The harder he tried, the worse he got.”

— Mark Potash (@MarkPotash) April 18, 2022

To be fair, he played well on the defensive end.

Bucks players combined to shoot 9-of-21 with 3 assists and 5 turnovers when #Bulls center Nikola Vucevic was the primary defender on them in Game 1, per https://t.co/8Adbmt83Ie data.

— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) April 18, 2022

His inability to knock down shots, willingly sit out on the perimeter, and not challenge the Bucks’ defense was mind-blowing.

Giannis played most of the fourth quarter with five fouls. There was a chance to challenge him on defense so he could pick up that sixth foul. A chance to get a lot of matchups against Giannis was there.

Yet, Vucevic decided to stand beyond the arc. Some of that is on head coach Billy Donovan but Vucevic just looked like he preferred to be anywhere but the paint on offense.

He shot enough bricks that you could have built a small house out of them.

Let’s be clear here. Bulls much better defensively tonight. Nikola Vucevic was excellent on the glass but you can’t shoot 2-10 from “3” & 9-27 from the floor + expect to keep shooting the ball from the perimeter. Run offense through him. But NO SHOT on taking 10 3’s. #TakeThat

— David Kaplan (@thekapman) April 18, 2022

If the Chicago Bulls want to have success against the Milwaukee Bucks, they need Vucevic to establish himself on the block first and not from three-point range.

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