3 takeaways from Milwaukee Bucks’ stellar Game 3 win over Chicago Bulls

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - APRIL 22 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - APRIL 22 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Bobby Portis
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – APRIL 22 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Following two ugly games that resulted in an even split to start the series, the Milwaukee Bucks needed to come out and make a statement in Game 3 against the Chicago Bulls last night.

With no Khris Middleton, who is set to miss the remainder of the series with a sprained MCL, the Bucks faced a tall task ahead, but they seemingly embraced the challenge. Their intensity was on full display right from the opening tip as the Bucks came out attacking on offense while playing an impressive brand of defense. Due to this immediate energy, Milwaukee only trailed for a moment in the first few minutes of the first quarter before they pulled away and built up a lead that grew to 37 points at one point. In the end, the Bucks managed to bounce back from a Game 2 loss with a stellar 111-81 win on the road. With that being said, let us take a closer look at three takeaways from the contest.

The Milwaukee Bucks looked fantastic on the defensive end as they limited the Chicago Bulls from start to finish in Game 3

Milwaukee’s defense was among the handful of reasons why they looked so sluggish during the first two games of this series. Thankfully, the Bucks came out more focused defensively as they did a number on the Bulls throughout this game, having looked like that defensive-minded group they are supposed to be. Chicago shot just 33-of-84 (39.3 percent) in the matchup as Milwaukee made life as difficult as possible for them.

Looking closer, the most notable work defensively was done on DeMar DeRozan. After the guard came out and scored 41 points on 16-of-31 shooting in Game 2, the Bucks needed to emphasize slowing him down in Game 3, and they did just that. DeRozan finished last night’s game with just  11 points on 4-of-9 shooting, having struggled to even get his shot off. This was mainly due to a stellar defensive effort from Wesley Matthews, who pestered the All-Star from beginning to end in this pivotal Game 3. Matthews and the Bucks made DeRozan work for every shot attempt, and it proved to be a great strategy in the end.

Meanwhile, Milwaukee did a solid job of keeping Chicago’s other stars quiet as Nikola Vucevic had 19 points on 8-of-17 shooting, including 3-of-9 from deep, while Zach LaVine tallied 15 points on 6-of-13 from the floor. Also, Patrick Williams notched one point courtesy of the free throw line as he missed all nine of his field-goal attempts. Not only did the Bucks do a fantastic job of limiting the contributions from DeRozan, but they did the same to the supporting cast.

As evidenced by their performance in Game 3, the Milwaukee Bucks are a tough team to beat in games when they are clicking defensively. In Game 4, they must keep their foot on the gas pedal defensively and keep the ball rolling.