The Chicago Bulls are preparing for game two of their first-round series with the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night. The Bulls dropped a close game one 93-86 to fall behind in the series 1-0.
The encouraging parts of game one were that the Bulls were able to match the Bucks’ intensity and they played well on the defensive end. Unfortunately, Chicago just couldn’t hit shots as they shot just 32.3% from the field and 18.9% from three.
It’s no secret that the Bulls had been struggling coming into the postseason. After going 30-11 through the first half of the season, the Bulls finished the season just 16-25. A huge reason why the Bulls stumbled the way they did is that they had a number of injuries that kept key players out for extended periods of time.
Former Buck Disses Thompson
Another issue the Bulls had this season was a lack of depth on the interior, particularly in the shot-blocking category. In an effort to address that need after the trade deadline the Bulls added veteran center, Tristan Thompson, through the buyout market.
In 23 games with the Bulls, Thompson averaged 5.7 points and 4.7 rebounds in 16.3 minutes per game. In the Bulls’ one playoff game though, Thompson played just 7 minutes scoring 2 points and grabbing 2 rebounds.
Thompson has clearly not been what the Bulls were hoping he would be. Former Bucks star Brandon Jennings recently criticized Thompson in a since-deleted tweet. However, things live forever on the internet.
“Bulls was playing great til they picked up Tristan Thompson but y’all don’t wanna say that,” Jennings tweeted. “And yes y’all had injuries but y’all was still hooping!!! Y’all let that Cavs run he had fool y’all.”
That is certainly a hot take from Jennings, however, it’s not exactly accurate. The Bulls had gone 2-9 in their previous 11 games before Thompson joined the team. While he hasn’t been what they were hoping for, Thompson hasn’t been the cause of the Bulls’ issues.
Jennings played nine seasons in the NBA, spending the first four in Milwaukee and part of his last season in 2017-18. His years with the Bucks were easily his best as he averaged 16.5 points, 5.6 assists, and 3.3 rebounds per game.
Jennings also played with the Pistons, Magic, Knicks, and Wizards. He last played during the 2018-19 season in Russia. While Jennings hasn’t played lately he is still just 32 years old so a return to basketball might be possible.
The fans in Milwaukee and the organization still hold Jennings in high regard. He was invited to the championship parade for the Bucks after the 2021 NBA Finals.
Rest of the Series
While the Bulls had their struggles in game one on the offensive end, they have to be encouraged by holding the Bucks to 93 points. It’s unlikely the Bulls will struggle to shoot the ball the way they did in game one again in this series.
If Chicago can continue to match the Bucks’ intensity and get stops on the defensive end then they could make this a long series. Ultimately though they’ll have to do something they haven’t done in a while, beat Giannis who has won 14 straight against Chicago.