The first-round playoff series between the sixth-seeded Chicago Bulls and the third-seeded Milwaukee Bucks is over, with the Bucks taking the best-of-seven series in five games.
The Bulls lost all four meetings with the Bucks during the regular season, including 28- and 21-point blowouts in the last two games. The reigning NBA champions are led by two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who hasn’t lost a regular-season game to the Bulls since Dec. 27, 2017.
The Bulls were 1-14 in the regular season against the top four Eastern Conference seeds — the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers. This was the Bulls’ first postseason appearance in five years.
Here are the results of the playoff series:
In the fourth quarter of any game, the Chicago Bulls are always comfortable with a single-digit deficit and the ball in DeMar DeRozan’s hands. That has been a tried-and-true formula throughout DeRozan’s first season in Chicago.
But DeRozan couldn’t deliver late-game heroics in Game 1 against the Bucks. He didn’t make a fourth-quarter basket until 2:11 remained in the game, going 1-for-7 in the quarter and taking only two free throws in the second half.
DeMar DeRozan is a man of his word. He proved that to Bulls fans, devouring the Bucks defense in the second half to cement a 114-110 win that evened the first-round playoff series at a game apiece.
The Bulls star didn’t disguise his frustration after Game 1, promising he wouldn’t repeat his 6-of-25 shooting performance. DeRozan spent Tuesday night on the Fiserv Forum court, putting up shots to regain the rhythm lacking in the opening loss.
The Bulls returned to the United Center for their first playoff game in five years with home-court advantage and the momentum of a road win at their back.
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But they limped out of Game 3 with a 111-81 beatdown as the Bucks bounced back like a reigning NBA champion to take a 2-1 lead in the first-round series.
The Bulls delivered hope in Game 4 of their series with the Bucks. That was an improvement, at least, for fans at the United Center after the beatdown of Game 3.
The offense matched blows with the Bucks throughout the first half, avoiding an early hole. Patrick Williams finally delivered on his young promise, scoring 20 points in his best performance of the playoffs. The Bulls scored more transition points in the first half (6) than they had in any game in the series so far.
But all that didn’t matter when Giannis Antetokounmpo woke up. The Bucks star carved open the Bulls defense with surgical accuracy, scoring a series-high 32 points. With Antetokounmpo slicing the Bulls open on both ends of the court, the Bucks waltzed to a 119-95 win.
The Bulls season ended with an air of inevitability Wednesday night as the team crumpled against the Bucks in a 116-100 Game 5 loss to close their best-of-seven first-round series.
The Bulls’ chances went from unlikely to grim after starters Alex Caruso (concussion) and Zach LaVine (COVID-19) were both ruled out of Game 5 early Wednesday. Bucks fans weren’t excited as they trickled into Fiserv Forum — they were expectant.
The only unexpected part of the loss was DeMar DeRozan’s stat line.