Bulls finish the season strong, beat the Bucks (Chicago, IL) – In their last game of the season, the Bulls will be playing the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday night. Chicago was eliminated from the playoffs when the Wizards beat the Cavs on Friday night. Despite missing the playoffs for the 4th season in a row, the Bulls did win 9 more games this season compared to last year.
Chicago has plenty to look forward to next year, as Zach LaVine and Nikola Vučević will be able to play a full season together. Patrick Williams, who had a career high 24 points this past Saturday, will look to improve upon his rookie season. While the Bulls are looking forward to next season by resting LaVine and Vučević tonight, the Bucks are focused on the postseason.
Milwaukee is looking to win an NBA championship, after falling short the past two seasons. The Bucks came into this game with the chances of earning the 2nd seed, but the Nets won their game against the Cavs right before tip-off. This locked the Bucks into the 3rd seed, so they decided to rest Giannis, Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday and the remainder of their normal starters.
White leads Bulls in tightly-contested 1st half
Coby White got Chicago off to a good start, as he scored 9 early points. White put the Bulls up 15-7 with 7 minutes left in the 1st. Bucks rookie Jordan Nwora became the first double-digit scorer late in the quarter, with 10 points. His jump shot cut the Bulls lead down to 28-23 with 1 minute left. The Bulls led 33-23 going into the 2nd.
Ryan Arcidiacono scored the first 5 points of the 2nd, extending the Bulls lead to 38-25. Jeff Teague countered by scoring 11 of Milwaukee’s first 23 points of the quarter. Teague’s production cut the Bulls advantage down to 50-46, with 2.5 minutes remaining in the half. The Bucks later took the lead at 51-50, but the Bulls led 55-54 going into halftime.
Chicago was able to lead after the 1st half behind balanced scoring. White led the team with 11 points, but five other Bulls players also scored at least 5 points. The first half was competitive overall, as there were 5 lead changes and two ties. Teague and Nwora led the Bucks with 16 and 14 points respectively.
Markkanen finds his groove in the 3rd
The Bulls started the 3rd quarter with a 15-6 run, to lead 70-61 with 7 minutes left in the period. The Bucks responded with a 9-2 run of their own. In his NBA debut, Elijah Bryant scored on a driving layup to cut the Bulls lead down to 72-70 with 5.5 minutes remaining. Lauri Markkanen scored 11 of his 17 points in the 3rd, helping Chicago lead 91-85 going into the 4th.
Chicago finishes the season on a high note
Arcidiacono began the 4th on fire for Chicago. He hit 3 consecutive three-pointers to put the Bulls up 100-89, with 9.5 minutes left. Thaddeus Young also had a great quarter, as he scored 11 points. Young made a hook shot and free throw to put the team up 114-103, but Milwaukee didn’t let up. The Bucks cut the Bulls lead down to 114-110, but Chicago held on for a 118-112 win.
Nwora was a big reason why Milwaukee was able to remain close all game, as he had a career-high 34 points and 16 rebounds. Nwora took advantage of the minutes that he got with starters resting and Devon Dotson did the same for the Bulls. Dotson played a season-best 21 minutes and had 11 points to go along with 4 assists.
Young (20 points and 7 rebounds), White (19 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds) and Markkanen (17 points and 5 rebounds) led the Bulls to victory.
Milwaukee (46-26) will begin their 1st round playoff series against the Heat (40-32) after the play-in tournament concludes.
Chicago (31-41) will look to improve the team in the off-season and make a playoff run next year.
Bulls finish the season strong, beat the Bucks