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: Wesley Matthews, Chicago Bulls: Zach LaVine
Mar 22, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

Wesley Matthews will be a wild card for the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round versus Chicago Bulls

Given what he brings to the table on both sides of the ball, Wesley Matthews may be the X-factor for the Milwaukee Bucks in this entire series.

Defensively, the swingman will be tasked with guarding DeMar DeRozan, which will not be an easy assignment whatsoever. During their four regular season meetings in 2021-22, DeRozan certainly got the upper hand as he notched 37 points while shooting 16-of-31 (51.6 percent) from the floor across 102.2 partial possessions. Despite DeRozan’s success, Matthews will once again give it his all when defending the All-Star, trying to slow him with his physicality and defensive expertise.

An important area of focus will be keeping DeRozan off the free throw line, as Matthews fouled him three times during their time matched up, which resulted in five attempts from the stripe. If DeRozan consistently gets looks from the line, it will help him get going and allow the Bulls to put extra points on the board. If Matthews can not only keep DeRozan off the free throw line but also limit his overall contributions offensively, it would help the Bucks on that side of things.

In addition to his importance defensively, Matthews could play an important role on offense with his 3-point shooting. It has been a tough year from 3-point range for the veteran, but he has shot it well since becoming a regular starter, knocking down 38.1 percent of his triples on 3.5 attempts per game. If he can keep that up through the playoffs, it would give Milwaukee’s offense some life, given how poorly they have shot the long ball against Chicago this season.

Analyzing the biggest playoff X-factor for each Milwaukee Bucks starter. dark. Next

Keep an eye on these three wild cards as the Milwaukee Bucks face the Chicago Bulls in the opening round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs beginning this coming Sunday.