Bucks hang on vs. Bulls in grungy Game 1


Giannis Antetokounmpo crashed through contact, hit a layup while being fouled and tumbled to the floor. He sat up and began air drumming, punctuating his solo with a powerful imaginary rimshot.

Fitting for a game that played out like a bad joke.

The Bucks lollygagged their way to a 93-86 win over the Bulls in Game 1 of their-first round series Sunday.

“We didn’t play the best basketball, the basketball that we usually play,” said Antetokounmpo, who hadn’t played in eight days and will have another two days off before Game 2 Wednesday. “Nobody played well tonight.”

Not quite nobody. Antetokounmpo (27 points, 16 rebounds, three assists and two blocks) wasn’t in peak form, but he was still pretty darned good. He changed flow on both ends of the floor with his driving on offense and full-floor presence on defense. Milwaukee outscored Chicago by 19 in his 34 minutes… and got outscored by 12 in the other 14 minutes, the Bucks’ offense really stagnating.

Yet, after Milwaukee blew an early 16-point lead, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer curiously pulled Antetokounmpo with five fouls for four clutch possessions in the final two minutes. But Milwaukee got away with it because the Bulls were even more haggard.

Chicago got a lot of Nikola Vucevic (24 points on 27 shots and 17 rebounds). DeMar DeRozan (18 points on 25 shots) was even less efficient – another dismal playoff showing, even after a career-best regular season. Zach LaVine (18 points on 19 shots) couldn’t get on track, either.