The Bulls couldn’t keep up with the Bucks on the fast break or on the boards during a 124-115 loss Thursday night at Fiserv Forum.
Bulls big man Thad Young went into the game with a defensive mission to stay in front of reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo — to “crowd him” when he had designs on charging down the lane, Young said — but neither Young nor anyone else on the Bulls could do much to slow the Bucks star on his way to a game-high 38 points and 16 rebounds.
Coby White led the Bulls with 26 points, hitting 6 of 13 3-pointers. Zach LaVine added 25 points with 4-of-9 shooting from long range.
Antetokounmpo makes a lot of teams look powerless at times, but the Bulls didn’t want to help him out — or ignite the Bucks’ sluggish 3-point shooting — by making costly turnovers, losing battles for loose balls, taking bad shots and doing the kinds of things t that spark opponents’ offensive “spurts,” as Bulls coach Jim Boylen mentioned before the game.
Yet they had several of those moments that undermined a viable upset bid.
Case in point: With the Bulls down 111-107, White drove and tried to pass to the backcourt but wildly whipped the ball out of bounds.
At key stretches in the second half, the Bulls’ basket seemed like it had a lid on it, such as Lauri Markkanen’s missed dunk in the third quarter.
That helps explain how the Bulls could have a 48-23 edge in bench scoring and commit three fewer turnovers and still lose. The Bucks’ 70-23 points-in-the-paint advantage didn’t help matters.