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 /
2 of 3
Milwaukee Bucks: Jrue Holiday, Chicago Bulls: DeMar DeRozan
Apr 17, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

The Milwaukee Bucks need to continue to keep the Chicago Bulls off the free-throw line

Although the Bucks had 21 personal fouls with nine going to Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez, they did a good job keeping the Bulls off the free-throw line, specifically DeMar DeRozan.

After he got to the line a season-high 18 times against the Bucks in their first meeting this season, keeping DeRozan off the free-throw line became a priority in their next three games where they held him to 13 total free throws.

That was also my biggest question about how they’d approach the DeRozan question in this series.

DeRozan is so good at drawing contact and forcing the referees to make a call. He was one of the league leaders in free throws per game and going against a Bucks team that routinely does not foul (third-fewest fouls per game) was a fascinating matchup, but the defending champs did a good job of keeping the Bulls off the line with only 19 total free throws.

DeRozan was held to six free throw attempts in a Game 1 performance that was even worse than Middleton’s and may have Bulls fans wondering if “Playoff DeRozan” is here once again after a phenomenal regular season.

He went 3-of-17 against Brook Lopez, Jrue Holiday, and Giannis Antetokounmpo while only drawing one shooting foul. He drew two on Wesley Matthews, but also shot 0-of-4 against him, so take the good with the bad, I suppose.

DeRozan had 31 games this season with six or fewer free throw attempts (three against the Bucks) and 45 with more than six.

DeRozan and Zach LaVine were under their season average while Nikola Vucevic had five free throws, almost three more than his season average, but you’ll take that over DeRozan getting his season average.

Ideally, they (Antetokounmpo in particular) don’t pick up as many offensive fouls, but the bigger key is continuing to make sure the Bulls aren’t getting freebies.