The Chicago Bulls will have a second chance at wrapping up their first-round playoff series when they take on the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night.
Where: United Center, Chicago.
When: Tuesday April 28 01:00 (UK time)
The Bulls had their chance to claim the series sweep on Saturday night in Milwaukee, but they fell to a disappointing 92-90 loss with Jerryd Bayless getting the winning lay-up to go as the clock expired at the end of the game.
That has undoubtedly left a bad taste in the mouth of Chicago who will hope that home comforts help them get over the line and set up an Eastern Conference semi-finals clash with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Chicago haven’t lost at the United Center since mid-March while the Bucks haven’t beaten them there since 2013, and so the odds are certainly against the visitors pulling off the upset.
However, there is no denying that Jason Kidd’s men have caused their rivals problems, as the Bulls committed a season-high 28 turnovers in Game 4 which cost them dearly as they fell short of their objective despite a stellar night from Jimmy Butler.
Inconsistency has also been an issue for Chicago as they have alternated between impressive performances as a unit, as well as star individuals such as point guard Derrick Rose going from a season-high 34 points in Game 3 to then struggling in the next encounter.
Nevertheless, while they will be kicking themselves for allowing the series to be extended to this point, a great deal of credit must also go to this young Bucks team that is exceeding expectations.
Led by the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Michael Carter-Williams, they will be a force in the coming years with Jabari Parker returning from injury. This playoff experience will be invaluable to them, and there is a growing rivalry between these two teams as it has threatened to boil over on a number of occasions.
While they put up a brave effort last time out to make it 3-1, this is the end of the post-season road for Milwaukee as the Bulls will kill their hopes with a bounce-back performance that sets up the match-up that everyone has been waiting for in the next round.