3 keys to the Milwaukee Bucks defeating the Chicago Bulls in Round 1

Apr 5, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 5, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Wesley Matthews, Brook Lopez, Chicago Bulls: Nikola Vucevic
Apr 5, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Milwaukee Bucks must dominate the paint battle against the Chicago Bulls

One major advantage the Bucks should have in this series is owning the paint, and they must take advantage of this mismatch.

Tristan Thompson recently challenged Nikola Vucevic to be the best big man in this series, and Brook Lopez should take that personally. Lopez has been a key cog for years now in the Bucks’ defensive system, and he will have to perform well if he wants to prove Thompson wrong.

Vucevic can both stretch the floor and post up, and will likely force Lopez into some spots he is uncomfortable in on defense if he is hitting shots. Lopez can offset this if he is protecting the rim at an elite level, and punishing mismatches on the other end. He did that amazingly well in their most recent matchup, scoring 28 points on one end, and holding Vucevic to 3-of-19 from the field on the other end.

Another obvious factor in the paint battle will be how the Bulls defend Giannis, and if that even matters at this point in Giannis’ career. Giannis has shown capability to destroy all coverages thrown at him, including the coverages the Bulls threw at him this year, as Giannis averaged a dominant 27/14/5 against the Bulls this year. The Bulls might try to counter the Giannis-Lopez combination with the Vucevic-Thompson frontcourt. We saw that play out in the March 4th matchup between the two squads. It did not work out well for Chicago, to say the least. Tristan Thompson ended the game with a measly -25 plus/minus in only 20 minutes.

The Bucks also outrebounded the Bulls in every matchup this year, with three of those coming without Brook Lopez. The Bucks should not be settling for threes this series. The Bulls do not have any rim protector who should deter them in the slightest. If the Bucks dominate the paint as they should, we should expect to see a fairly easy series.

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

If the Bucks simply play their game and do these three key things, they should cruise to a fairly easy first round victory at the start of their title defense. If they don’t, it will likely go further than it should. Only time will tell.