3 Milwaukee Bucks’ wild cards in first round series with Chicago Bulls

Mar 4, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 4, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Bobby Portis, Chicago Bulls: Zach LaVine
Mar 22, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

Bobby Portis will be a wild card for the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round versus Chicago Bulls

This matchup with the Bulls will be a revenge series for Bobby Portis as he battles the team that drafted him in 2015. While Portis has certainly never lacked motivation for any given matchup in his career, the chance to face his former franchise in the postseason will add some fuel to the fire. Portis’ two-way play off the bench could make a significant difference in this series, as some of his regular season numbers suggest.

No player guarded Portis more than Chicago’s Nikola Vucevic this year, as the two were matched up for 78.8 partial possessions, per NBA.com. In that time, Portis looked fantastic as he scored a solid 24 points while shooting 10-of-18 (55.6 percent) from the floor. Yet, his numbers were not the greatest when defended by Tristan Thompson, Chicago’s backup, as he went scoreless after missing all six shot attempts across 20.6 partial possessions this season as Thompson suited up for various teams. If Portis can continue to play well when defended by Vucevic and flip the switch while being guarded by Thompson, there is no doubt he could have a sizeable impact offensively with his scoring contributions off the bench.

Portis is not known much for his defense, but the big man did a solid job of keeping these two in check during their regular season meetings. Across 62.4 partial possessions, Portis allowed just 10 points on 3-of-8 shooting to Vucevic and just four points on 2-of-6 shooting to Thompson in 38.4 partial possessions. If he can play this solid brand of defense against these two in the series when Brook Lopez is catching his breath, it would be a huge boost for Milwaukee’s defense, which has been struggling as of late. Portis will undoubtedly look to bring some intensity to that side of things as he goes up against his former team, and the Bucks could surely use it.