Milwaukee Bucks need more from their bench in Game 2 vs. Chicago Bulls

Apr 17, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 17, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

The Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Chicago Bulls in a down to the wire Game 1 victory on Sunday in a game that had no shortage of noteworthy takeaways.

Whether it was the struggles of Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton or Brook Lopez’s excellence late in the game, there were plenty of hot talking points. Mainly because there were so many, one that got swept under the rug was the minimal contributions from the second unit in this opening game, which nearly proved fatal for the Bucks.

Assessing the Milwaukee Bucks’ bench production in Game 1 win versus the Chicago Bulls

The four Bucks’ reserves that played in this opening matchup were Bobby Portis, Grayson Allen, Pat Connaughton, and Jevon Carter. This group combined to score 16 points on 5-of-19 shooting (26.3 percent), as Milwaukee’s second unit scoring woes, an issue that was on display throughout the regular season – having averaged the 27th most points on average – carried over into their first game of the 2022 NBA Playoffs.

Bobby Portis shouldered a significant portion of the load as he scored 10 of the points, but it was not his most efficient outing as he shot 3-of-8 from the floor. The big man did shoot it well from 3-point territory as he knocked down two of his five 3-point attempts, but he failed to find much success from inside the arc. While his scoring was not up to par, the center did haul in 12 boards while notching a block and a steal apiece to give credit where it is due. However, Portis has been pegged as a wild card for this series due to his scoring, and the Bucks could use more from him in Game 2 and beyond. If Portis is knocking down his 3-pointers and scoring close to the hoop with efficiency, it will make a  massive difference for this bench brigade.

Elsewhere, Pat Connaughton finished with three points on just 1-of-6 shooting from the outside, while Grayson Allen went scoreless after missing his lone two shot attempts. Following a month off due to hand surgery in February, Connaughton had a tough time regaining his footing upon his return to the lineup down the stretch, and that has carried over into the playoffs. As evidenced by his heroics in last year’s title run, the guard is more than capable of providing a sizeable spark off the bench, and the Bucks desperately need him to find a groove. Meanwhile, Allen is another Buck that could have a significant impact on this series due to his electric shooting, but the big question regarding him heading into the playoffs was his aggressiveness with the basketball. Allen does not need to force shots, but considering he just had a career year in the regular season, the guard should be looking to take more than two shot attempts, as his contributions on offense could be a massive difference-maker in this series.

As for Jevon Carter, he added three points while knocking down one of his two 3-point attempts for the game. With George Hill sidelined for the series opener, Carter was primarily utilized for his defensive intensity, but as he showed in the regular season, he is more than capable of bringing some scoring to the table as well. If Hill remains out of the lineup with this nagging injury, Carter will see quality playoff minutes, and if he can keep lighting it up from three, it would bode well for his chances of getting consistent playing time moving forward.

These are likely the four players that will continue to get the most minutes off the bench in this series, and the Bucks could use more production from them. Despite the team’s glaring lack of second unit scoring throughout the regular season, all of these players are capable of providing a spark on the offensive end, and this team will need it starting in Game 2 this Wednesday. If these struggles continue, it could hinder Milwaukee’s chances in this playoff run. Thankfully, this group has a chance to wipe the slate clean and start fresh in their next game.

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

Be sure to catch the action at 8:30 p.m. CST on TNT on Wednesday.