In the NBA Eastern Conference, the No. 3 seed Milwaukee Bucks are on the verge of knocking off the Chicago Bulls after a resounding victory in game four of their series on Sunday. In that contest, the Bucks were buoyed by another fantastic performance from their all-world power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (32 points, leading all scorers). With a 119-95 victory in game four, the Bucks have taken a 3-1 series lead heading into game five at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee. Can they close out DeMar DeRozan and the Bulls? It will be easier said than done.
Below, SBS breaks down this matchup, what each squad is bringing to the table and who will ultimately prevail in game five.
The leader for the Bulls on court this season has been DeRozan who paced the squad this year in points (27.9) and assists (4.9) per game. A devastating mid-range shooter, the former USC Trojan made his first All-Star team this season after not having made the squad since 2018. Serving as his wingman is high-flying shooting guard Zach LaVine who led Chicago in scoring in their game four loss with 24. While the Bulls are coming off back-to-back losses vs. Milwaukee at home, they were actually able to snag a game from the Bucks on the road in game two of the series, 114-110.
With the Bucks’ All-Star forward Khris Middleton out along with point guard George Hill, the Bulls do have some wiggle room in terms of making this contest a winnable one. For Chicago to blow past the Bucks, they need DeRozan to get back to his game two form where he went off for 41 points and shot over 50% from the field. Also in that game two contest, Bulls center Nikola Vucevic led the squad in rebounds with 13 while shooting guard Alex Caruso had 10 assists. The latter though is day-to-day for Chicago and is questionable to return in this pivotal game five showdown.
Milwaukee, on the other hand, is riding high after two blowout victories over the Bulls on the road. In game three, the Bucks blasted Chicago by a 30-point margin, 111-81, and in game four, Milwaukee had another convincing victory, this time by 24 points. In their last contest on Sunday, Antetokounmpo was magnificent again with 32 points, but also had a lot of help from his teammate, Grayson Allen. One of the more polarizing figures in the league, thanks to his Duke lineage, Allen scored 27 points in game four amidst a chorus of boos from crowd. Time after time he silenced the fans with his precision shot-making and gave his squad a huge boost.
In potentially the last game of this series on Wednesday, the Bucks just need to stick to their guns and stay on their game plan. With the blueprint already in place for dismantling the Bulls, Milwaukee does not need to do anything fancy other than stay poised. Though they only won game one of this series by seven points, 93-86, the Bucks have found various ways to confound Chicago. With back-to-back games with margins of victory in double figures, Milwaukee has proven they have the Bulls’ number and have the luxury of home court advantage to close this one out.
Prediction: With the Bucks favored heavily in this one, you can take the points here as Milwaukee has shown they can firmly handle Chicago even without Middleton in the lineup.
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