3 takeaways from the Milwaukee Bucks’ dominant win over Chicago Bulls

Mar 22, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 22, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /
2 of 3
Milwaukee Bucks: Bobby Portis, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Chicago Bulls: Nikola Vucevic
Mar 22, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

The Milwaukee Bucks adjusted their center rotation and all three big men played their roles accordingly

After starting in 57 of his 62 games this season, Bobby Portis let it slip during Tuesday morning’s shootaround that he would be heading back to the bench. Of course, Portis had been filling in for Brook Lopez, who has missed a sizeable chunk of the season due to back surgery. However, with Lopez back in the mix and rapidly regaining his footing, coach Mike Budenholzer decided to start the big man while sending Portis to the bench, a move that Portis said he embraced. There were some questions about how this lineup change would impact these two and Serge Ibaka, but the trio all played their roles accordingly.

Lopez had himself an all-around great game as he tallied 10 points, six rebounds, two assists, and two blocked shots in a tick under 24 minutes played. Offensively, the center’s sweet-shooting was on full display as he knocked down two triples in four attempts, having shown off the range. When Lopez is able to hit these triples, it unlocks a new level of versatility for the Bucks. The same could be said regarding his defensive intensity, as Lopez’s two blocks served as a reminder of the stellar protection he provides right at the hoop. After spending the past few months on the sidelines, the veteran looks rejuvenated to be back on the floor for the Bucks.

Coming off the bench for the first time in months, Portis did not stuff the stat sheet as he tallied a mere six points and nine rebounds, but he played well in his 22 minutes of action. It may take time for Portis to find a groove playing alongside fellow reserves, but this is a player that received some consideration for Sixth Man of the Year last season, so he is no stranger to this role. Though he did provide a solid presence on the glass, adjusting to things offensively may be the biggest challenge for Portis, as he notched just three shot attempts versus the Bulls. Nevertheless, Portis does more than just score the basketball for Milwaukee, and having him back in the second unit could provide a significant spark nightly.

Perhaps the biggest question mark in this equation was Serge Ibaka, who seemed like he could be the odd man out with Portis coming back to take the backup center duties. However, that was not the case as the big man still received quality playing time, having logged 19 minutes in Tuesday’s victory. Ibaka put up stellar numbers in that stretch by scoring 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting while grabbing four rebounds and blocking a shot of his own. Even with Lopez and Portis both back, the Bucks will continue to use Ibaka as their third true center because of his strong two-way play.

Including the Greek Freak, the Milwaukee Bucks have a fascinating four-man center rotation, and it was on full display last night. With time, their chemistry should only improve.