3 first round playoff series advantages for the Milwaukee Bucks

Apr 5, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 5, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /

The last time the Milwaukee Bucks played the Chicago Bulls in the playoffs was April of 2015.

Seven years have passed since then, but most Bucks fans probably remember losing ugly 120-66 in Game 6 in Milwaukee to end the series, in which a very young Giannis Antetokounmpo basically tackled Mike Dunleavy into the stands, which resulted in an ejection. The two players remaining on the current roster from that series for the Bucks are Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo. It is safe to assume that neither of them has forgotten about that blowout loss.

With an NBA championship and a ton of playoff experience under both their belts, Middleton and Antetokounmpo should be salivating at the thought of playing the Bulls, as they have some major advantages and are heavily favored to win the series easily. With that said, let us look at three advantages the Bucks will have over the Bulls this time around.

Advantage #1 – The Milwaukee Bucks will be well-rested heading into their first round series against the Chicago Bulls

The Milwaukee Bucks head into the playoffs as healthy and well-rested as fans could hope for. With Game 1 slated for April 17th, it will have been one week to the day since their last game on the final day of the regular season.

The same can’t be said for the Bulls, who have done a complete 180 as a team since late February when they were still the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference. They head into the playoffs in a downward spiral and nosedive, playing with little confidence and are overall a banged-up team…both mentally and physically.

Lonzo Ball is out for the remainder of the season due to a knee injury. Additionally, Zach LaVine (knee) and Alex Caruso (back) were both sidelined sporadically throughout the last two months of the regular season, and neither will enter this series at full health. Caruso’s back is capable of flaring up at any given time due to back spasms he’s experienced for the last month. LaVine has been suffering from a lack of mobility which has sometimes caused him to be less aggressive when driving and slashing to the rim.

A grueling, repetitive series will be the ultimate test for both of them. A lack of rhythm and chemistry from this standpoint will also be advantageous for the Bucks.

Advantage #2 – The Milwaukee Bucks showed during the regular season that they are a tough matchup for the Chicago Bulls

The Bucks overall have had little problem with Chicago all season, sweeping the season series with ease, 4-0. They won two games in Milwaukee and two in Chicago.

The Bulls’ lack the size down low and in the paint to protect the rim and contain Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez when they are both aggressive and attack the basket. They also finished 28th in the league in rebounding.

Keep an eye on Jrue Holiday’s defense in this series. It is no secret that he is an elite defender who is relied upon first and foremost by the Bucks’ defense.

There is not a single player on Chicago’s roster who he cannot defend or contain, specifically DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine.

While it is pretty much a given that DeRozan should score anywhere from 25-30 points a night and put up gaudy numbers, he has had to work extremely hard during all four meetings against the Bucks this season. This has resulted in fatigue, which has ultimately led to a drop in field goal percentage.

Again, the majority of this was a result of Holiday’s swarming defense on him throughout the majority of the four games. Holiday will more than likely have the same defensive assignment this upcoming playoff series and will more than likely wear down DeRozan again.

Advantage #3 – The Chicago Bulls struggled against elite teams all season, such as the Milwaukee Bucks

The Bulls had a paltry 2-21 total record against the NBA’s top four seeds in both the Eastern and Western Conference this season. As alluded to earlier, four of these games between these two teams resulted in a dominating, clean sweep for the Bucks. There is no reason to believe that anything will change during this first round series.

Bad blood still lingers in this series, specifically with Bulls fans towards Grayson Allen. Allen cost Caruso 22 games this season when he committed a flagrant two foul, which led to a broken wrist for Caruso.

Playoff experience will also come into play in this series in a major way. As we know, the NBA playoffs are a whole different ballgame.

The Bucks have a championship pedigree and a plethora of valuable playoff experience up and down the roster. The Bulls on the other hand don’t have nearly as much playoff experience.

The pressure will be too much for the Bulls to compete with the elite Bucks. Keep in mind that this will also be Zach LaVine’s first playoff series of his career.

Regardless of what transpires in this first round playoff series, the Milwaukee Bucks hold a major advantage in this series overall and should easily win in four games…five games max.

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