Ultimate preview for Milwaukee Bucks playoff matchup vs Chicago Bulls

Jan 21, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 21, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Brook Lopez, Jevon Carter. Chicago Bulls: Zach LaVine
Mar 22, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

Can the Milwaukee Bucks regain their defensive identity after a subpar regular season?

Perhaps the biggest reason the Milwaukee Bucks won the championship last season was that they had one of the best defensive runs in recent memory. Armed with paint protectors such as Brook Lopez and Giannis Antetokounmpo while defenders like Jrue Holiday and P.J. Tucker held it down on the perimeter, the Bucks locked down opposing offenses over the course of long series.

Due to a number of different issues this season, the Bucks finished 14th in defensive rating at 111.1, just below the Minnesota Timberwolves and New York Knicks.

A lot has been made of the Bucks’ ability to “flip the switch” in big moments down the stretch of the regular season and there’s reason to believe that they’ll be able to do that for long stretches in the playoffs. Jrue Holiday was asked about what gives him confidence that they’ll be able to sustain it in the playoffs.

"“Brook Lopez.” *laughs* “No, Brook is a part of it, but I just think the intensity of the playoffs. Being able to lock in on a gameplan and on a scheme and executing it the best you can. Giving us a week to kind of prepare and go through practice, doing our best to mimic what DeMar and Zach and Vooch like to do. We do our best and then we got to go out and execute.”"

Getting a first-round series against a team that they held to 101.5 points per game (10 points fewer than their overall scoring average) in their four meetings this season is a great start to getting the confidence back in themselves and getting into a rhythm on the defensive side of the ball.

The Bulls have multiple ways they can score and three very talented offensive players that will challenge the Bucks’ defense in different ways. Even if this series goes four or five games, it will still be a good test for their defense to kick off the defense of their title.

One concerning stat for each Chicago Bulls starter vs Milwaukee Bucks. dark. Next

That title defense for the Milwaukee Bucks starts tomorrow at 5:30 pm CT at Fiserv Forum.