Milwaukee Bucks at Chicago Bulls (-8.5, 187.5 o/u)
“Pesky” is a word that the Milwaukee Bucks (42-40, 18-25 away) took to heart in their 92-90 Game 4 win over the Chicago Bulls (53-33, 29-14 home) this weekend. The youthful Bucks pestered the Bulls all night, piling up 20 steals and forcing the Bulls into 28 total turnovers.
“We are going to have to be a lot stronger with the ball,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said after the loss. “They are coming through us. We are going to have to hold our ground.”
Milwaukee made the most of Chicago’s sloppy play, converting the 28 turnovers into 39 points.
Despite the Bulls playing subpar for most of the night, the game was neck and neck in the waning moments. With the score knotted at 90 and 1.3 seconds on the clock, Jared Dudley inbounded to Jerryd Bayless – who had managed to slip away from Chicago’s Derrick Rose – under the basket for the winning layup.
The tight win has given the Bucks a confidence boost heading into Game 5.
“If we can run these guys off the line, and make them shoot tough, contested [shots], we think we have a good chance,” said Bayless. “We’re still believing. We’re not giving up on this series and we’re going to keep going and see what happens.”
Milwaukee got extremely balanced scoring in the win. O.J. Mayo led the way with 18 points, while Dudley added 13, and three other players scored in double-figures.
As for the Bulls, Jimmy Butler was on fire, scoring 33 points on 12/17 shooting.
“He’s a great player playing at a high level and the rest of us have to be ready to make plays and make them pay for their commitment to certain players,” said Pau Gasol of his teammate.
After a stellar Game 3 in which he scored 34 and added eight dimes, Rose looked the part of a player coming back from injury in Game 4. The former MVP scored only 14 points on 5/13 from the floor while committing eight turnovers.
Rose is now doing his best to focus on the positives heading into tonight’s tilt.
“If this was the last game or Game 7, it would have been totally different,” Rose said. “But we play again soon, so get this game out of my mind. We’re going to come out and play hard. I can say that.”
While the Bulls may win the series tonight at home, look for the confident Bucks to put up a fight. That’s why Milwaukee and the points (+8.5) is the play.
(Photo credit: Keith Allison from Owings Mills, USA (Derrick Rose) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)