Apr 25, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guardJerryd Bayless
(19) celebrates with centerZaza Pachulia
(27) and guardKhris Middleton
(22) after scoring the game -winning shot against the Chicago Bulls in game four of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at BMO Harris Bradley Center. The Bucks beat the Bulls 92-90. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
I love that the Bucks gave one to their home fans. I love that the Bucks avoided the sweep. I really love Derrick Rose‘s salty face after realizing he gave up the game-winner to Jerryd Bayless. Fueled by the strongest bench performance in months the Milwaukee Bucks defended their home court and avoided the sweep by beating the Chicago Bulls 92-90.
For months Bucks fans have complained about the lack of production from the bench unit. Sure the starting five is set, but what have we seen from Mayo, Henson, Bayless, and especially Dudley? Not much. Things got so bad for the bench that fans wondered whether rookie PG Tyler Ennis had become a stronger option than Jerryd Bayless.
The Buck’s bench unit not only saved them in the second quarter from teetering on the edge of the playoff abyss–they played the majority of the fourth quarter and delivered the Buck’s first playoff win since 2010.
Defensively the Bucks were just as good.
They forced a whopping 26 Bulls’ turnovers (while only committing 13) including a Bulls’ season-high 14 in the first half. Collectively the Bucks came up with twenty steals–a season-high. No steal was more important than the one Khris Middleton (the most underrated defender) came up with off Derrick Rose with 1.3 seconds remaining.
Middleton’s steal led to an inbounds pass that everyone thought was going to O.J. Mayo. All Mayo did was drop in three pointer after three pointer in the fourth quarter. He was even credited with a triple before the review assistant declared the shot occurred after the shot clock. Mayo shrugged and hit an unquestionable three pointer moments later.
Do the Bucks have a legitimate chance to win this series? Probably not–no NBA team has ever climbed out of a 0-3 series deficit; but don’t tell that to this Bucks team.
They’ve gotten better each game in the series and have officially put the Chicago Bulls on alert. Remember, the Bucks were a Middleton end-of-regulation jumper in game three from this series being knotted up 2-2.
For now the Bulls still lead 3-1 as the series shifts back to Chicago, where they will field the Bucks strongest effort. Game on.
We have your Milwaukee Bucks grades and reactions from the huge Game 4 92-90 victory.
Next: Reactions: The Good