3 keys for the Milwaukee Bucks to take 2-0 lead over Chicago Bulls

Apr 17, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 17, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Khris Middleton. Chicago Bulls: Alex Caruso
Apr 17, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

In the spirit of “they don’t ask how only how many,” the Milwaukee Bucks have the chance to defend home court and take a 2-0 lead in their first-round series against the Chicago Bulls tonight.

It sure wasn’t a fun Game 1 win, but that’s how Game 1s have gone for the Bucks and they’ll gladly take a win any way they can get it. Tonight should be a completely different story if last year was any indication of how they’ll perform in this one.

Due to that Game 1 performance, there are plenty of things that can be better in Game 2 but also a few things that they did right!

Khris Middleton needs to have a better Game 2 performance for the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 2

I said it after Game 1, but if you told me that Khris Middleton would have arguably his worst game of the season (by Basketball Reference’s Game Score, it was tied for his second-worst) and the Bucks got out with a win? I’d be surprised but relieved.

Middleton had 11 points on 40 percent true shooting with seven turnovers, it wasn’t a pretty effort! And yet, I’m not concerned at all. As I’ve said all year, Middleton’s game lends itself to having some rough outings like that but we all know how the cycle goes for him.

He went a combined 2-of-8 with seven turnovers against Alex Caruso, DeMar DeRozan, and Zach LaVine. In the regular season, he went 6-of-12 against Caruso and DeRozan (he didn’t have a shot attempt against LaVine) with two turnovers.

Despite the seven turnovers, he still did good things as a playmaker and I liked the possessions when he ran pick-and-roll with Brook Lopez when Giannis Antetokounmpo had to sit with foul trouble.

His rough Game 1 doesn’t change my opinion that this will be a tone-setter series for him after he scuffled to finish the regular season. The Bulls don’t offer many guys who should give him trouble for a seven-game series and I expect a bounce-back game tonight.