Assessing positive signs from Milwaukee Bucks vs. Chicago Bulls Game 3

Apr 22, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 22, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Milwaukee Bucks dominated the Chicago Bulls in all aspects of the game on Friday night when they defeated their rivals, 111-81. This was a must-win game for the defending champs, and they did not disappoint. Here are three positive signs from Game 3 that the Bucks should take going forward in their quest for a repeat.

Grayson Allen and Bobby Portis had great games for the Milwaukee Bucks

With Khris Middleton going down with a sprained MCL, the Bucks desperately needed someone to answer the bell in this pivotal game three. Grayson Allen stepped up big time with 22 points on 5-or-7 shooting from 3-point range, three of those coming in the first half. This performance was particularly impactful, considering Allen scored only three(!) points combined through the first two games of this series. Allen really seems to thrive off hostile environments going back to his college days at Duke, and that really showed here, as he was confident and aggressive as soon as he checked into the game.

Bobby Portis also showed up in a huge way in game three. Portis contributed 18 points and 14 rebounds on the night. He did a lot of damage in the first quarter, setting the tone for the entire Bucks team with his intensity and shot-making. Coach Bud showed a lot of trust in Bobby with inserting him into the starting lineup for Khris Middleton, and Bobby, as usual, did not waste that opportunity.

Bobby also played great defense. He contested at the rim very well and didn’t have any noticeable breakdowns off-ball, which is really all the Bucks need if you have Giannis, Jrue, and Brook sharing the court with him. The Bucks can take a lot out of these two players showing out.

For Allen, if he is making shots and holding up on defense, he can be a vital rotation piece for the Bucks as they look to make a deep postseason run. The shotmaking part for Allen is especially important with Middleton out, as the Bucks need someone to fill the void while his knee heals. For Portis, the big takeaway the Bucks can have here is that he is the definite right choice to start while Middleton is out. He has a great ability to space the floor, and also brings an intensity that maybe only Giannis Antetokounmpo can match. The Bucks have looked lethargic at times, especially in Games 1&2 of this series, so Portis’ intensity should be great for them.

The Milwaukee Bucks played lockdown defense in Game 3

The Bucks were sensational on defense in Game 3. After DeMar DeRozan’s 41-point game, the Bucks’ defense was under pretty intense heat from fans and media. They seemed to take that personally, as the Bucks and Jrue in particular held DeRozan to 11 points on only nine shots.

Jrue Holiday spun together a masterpiece against the Bulls star on defense, dancing through screens and beating DeRozan to his spot almost every time. Zach LaVine didn’t have any easier of a time against Wesley Matthews, as he was held to 15 points on only 13 shots. The Bucks looked intent on keeping the ball out of both LaVine and DeRozan’s hands and forcing the other Bulls to beat them.

Quite simply, the Bulls do not have the shooters to make the Bucks pay when they load up on the Bulls’ stars, and it showed. The Bulls went 9-of-34 from 3-point range, including a dismal performance from Patrick Williams, who went 0-of-9 from the field. The only Bull who had a decent game was Nikola Vucevic, and that was by design. Vucevic had 18 points on 8-of-17 shooting, and the Bucks were comfortable letting him take shots if that meant DeRozan and LaVine weren’t shooting.

The Bucks also dominated on the defensive glass, only allowing five Bulls offensive rebounds. This can definitely be attributed to the addition of Bobby Portis into the starting lineup, as the Bulls were completely outsized. If the Bucks can stick to these defensive principles, they should be able to win this series fairly comfortably, even without Khris Middleton.

Next. 3 Milwaukee Bucks that must step up with Khris Middleton sidelined. dark

Game 3 went as close to perfect as the Bucks could hope, and there are some very positive takeaways for them to build on here, even as they are without their second-best player in Khris Middleton for the remainder of this series. The Bucks will look to take a commanding 3-1 lead on Sunday afternoon.