GIANNIS Antetokounmpo eclipsed the 30-point mark for the third time in the last four games as the Milwaukee Bucks earned a 116-100 win over the visiting Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night to advance to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
The two-time MVP finished with 33 points and nine rebounds on 11-for-15 shooting to lead Milwaukee to its first postseason series win over the Bulls since 1985.
Reserve Pat Connaughton added 20 points off the bench and Bobby Portis chipped in 14 along with 17 rebounds. Grayson Allen contributed 13 points, Brook Lopez had 12 and Jrue Holiday posted 10 points and nine assists.
With Zach LaVine in the league’s health and safety protocol, Patrick Williams paced Chicago with 23 points on 9-for-13 shooting. Nikola Vucevic finished with 19 points and 16 rebounds, and reserve Coby White went for 17 points.
Bulls All-Star DeMar DeRozan scored just 11 points, while Troy Brown, Jr. added 10.
The Bulls launched a season-high 52 3-pointers on the night, but only 15 fell (28.8%).
The Bucks went into the break with a 60-42 lead behind 23 points on 8-for-9 shooting from Antetokounmpo. Milwaukee had led by as much as 29, but the Bulls closed the half on a 22-11 run over the final 7:11 to cut the deficit.
Chicago’s defense got torn apart down low in the opening half, as the Bucks scored 34 points in the paint compared to the Bulls’ 16.
Williams led Chicago with 12 points through the first 24 minutes of action, and White added 11. They were the only two Bulls with more than six points.
A 13-6 run capped off by a three-point play from Ayo Dosunmu brought Chicago within 11 with 9:32 left in the third quarter, but that was the closest it would get.
Portis answered with a pair of 3-pointers and the Bulls would go on to trail by at least 15 for the remainder of the game.
Milwaukee got off to a fast start, shooting 61.9% from the field in the first quarter to jump out to a 16-point lead. Antetokounmpo erupted during the frame, posting 15 points and six rebounds. — Reuters