Chicago Bulls overcame a 16-point hole to lose 93-86 to the Bucks in Game 1

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MILWAUKEE IS A CITY IN THE STATE OF WISCONSIN. When DeMar DeRozan has the ball and the Chicago Bulls are down one point in the fourth quarter, they are always at ease. That formula has worked for DeRozan time and time again during his debut season in Chicago.

image credits: chicagotribune

DeRozan was unable to offer late-game magic in the NBA playoffs opener against the Milwaukee Bucks. He only made one field goal out of seven attempts in the fourth quarter, and he only tried two free throws in the second half.

When DeRozan was out, the Bucks prevailed despite coming back from a 16-point halftime deficit to win 93-86.

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No team scored more than 89 points in a sloppy game of smothering basketball. The Bulls shot 32.3 percent from the field, while the Bucks made 15 of 23 free throws.

The Bulls’ first few minutes were abysmal. The Bucks took a 16-point lead in the first quarter after a 9-0 run by Brook Lopez and Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bulls were well aware that they couldn’t directly match the Bucks’ size, but they also missed out on a critical long-range advantage.

Antetokounmpo and Lopez, who dominate the paint and have a large impact on the outcome of many layups and post-ups, receive a significant portion of the Bucks’ defensive effort. In the first half, the Bulls went 3 for 17 from 3-point range, including a 10-minute stretch when they didn’t make a shot from beyond the arc.

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The Bulls outscored the Bucks 22-17 in the second quarter, leading to a 51-43 halftime deficit. The Bucks’ poor shooting performance in the second quarter and first half boosted them, as they went 6 for 22 from the field and 5 for 10 from the free throw line.

The Bulls needed a great effort from each of their three All-Stars to keep within striking distance of the Bucks. Nikola Vuevi swished a tying 3-pointer on the next play after aggressively backing down Lopez for a post-up bucket to tie the score at 2-2. With 3:11 left in the third quarter, Coby White made a three-pointer to give the Bulls their first lead of the night, 67-64.

To put an end to the comeback, the Bucks simply swapped Antetokounmpo in. In the third quarter, the Bucks went on a 10-2 run to reclaim a three-point lead, with Antetokounmpo putting down a bulldozer drive on DeRozan en route to a layup.

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