CHICAGO – The Milwaukee Bucks may not have needed much of an adjustment period without injured star Chris Middleton.
Even as Middleton sat on the bench in a blue hoodie with a sprained medial collateral ligament that would keep him out for at least two weeks, the Bucks jumped early on the Chicago Bulls and on Friday United cruised to a 111–81 victory at the center.
Milwaukee took a 2-1 lead in a best-of-seven, first-round playoff series with Game 4 in the same building on Sunday afternoon.
Grayson Allen came off the bench to score 22 points to help fill Middleton’s scoring void. Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo needed only 12 shots and finished with 18 points.
box score:Bucks 111, Bulls 81
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Bucks coach Mike Buddenholzer selected Bobby Portis for the super-sized starting lineup in place of Middleton, and Portis responded with 18 points.
Nikola Vusevic led Chicago with 19 points. DeMar DeRozan, who trampled the Bucks to 41 points in Chicago’s Game 2 victory, had only 11 points on 4-for-9 shooting.
Portis was wearing protective eyewear after suffering a right eye injury, which kept him out for most of Game 2. His depth perception was not affected as he hit three of his first four shots.
The Bucks were hot in the first quarter, shooting 12 for 23 (52.2%). Allen came off the bench to nail three consecutive three-pointers to give Milwaukee a 28-13 lead.
A 13-0 run at the start of the second quarter gave the Bucks a 46-22 advantage. The Bulls went without scoring for more than four minutes before Coby White and Alex Caruso struck one after the other.
Chicago scored two buckets in the last 24 seconds of the first half, including a fast-break layup by Zach LaVine from Jew Holiday’s turnover, giving the Bucks a 60–41 lead.
The Bulls made the first basket of the third quarter on a three-pointer from LaVine, but then the Bucks came back with 10 unanswered points for a 70–44 lead, prompting a timeout from Chicago coach Billy Donovan on the 8:00 point. Did.
Wesley Matthews added a three-pointer for Milwaukee before LaVine ended Chicago’s drought with a three.
Antetokounmpo picked up his third foul on a charge in the third quarter with 6:25 remaining. Budenholzer unsuccessfully challenged the call.
Antetokounmpo went to the bench for a few minutes, but the Bulls could not close their deficit. Milwaukee’s lead reached 87-54 when Pat Connaughton sank a three-pointer.
Budenholzer was able to clear his bench with only eight minutes remaining as Bulls fans headed for the exit. Luca Villadoza, who signed with the Bucks on April 6, saw his first action with the team.
The Bucks’ biggest lead came at 101-64 when Jordan Navora threw a dunk with an assist from Wildoza.