Game 1 of the Chicago Bulls versus the Milwaukee Bucks went according to plan for the home team, as the Bulls defeated the Bucks 103-91. It’s been a while and some change since Derrick Rose was in the NBA Playoffs, but it seems as though the stage has sparked a fire in him that has only been seen sporadically in the regular season.
The Bucks put up a decent fight, but the Bulls controlled the tempo throughout. However, the Bucks did manage to cut the lead down to three points going in to the second half. What made the difference from that point forward was the Bulls’ well-oiled defense. No surprises there. It also helped that D. Rose was in a groove with 23 points, 7 assists, and 2 steals. The former MVP also shot smart, going 9 of 16 from the field. The Bucks had no answer for Rose in the second half as he knifed his way to the basket and even drained some three-point bombs in his first playoff appearance since 2012. Not bad for 27 minutes of playing time.
“I only had, like, three goals tonight, and that was to have fun, have no expectations and to compete,” Rose told the NY Times.
The Bulls’ rising star Jimmy Butler led all scorers with 25 points, showing the Bucks why he was chosen as an All-Star this year, and Pau Gasol dropped in 10 points and snatched 13 rebounds. Taj Gibson also got into the mix scoring 8 points and grabbing 11 boards. On top of all that, Aaron Brooks came off the bench to pour in a solid 13 points to help keep the Bulls ahead. Overall, the Bulls defense was solid, as they held the Bucks to a field goal percentage of 39.3, and out-rebounded them by 11 boards.
Khris Middleton tried to keep the Bucks afloat with 18 points, leading all scorers for his team, but it just wasn’t enough. Michael Carter-Williams was held to 9 points, going just 4 of 13 from the field.
It seems as if this is the Bulls team that everyone has been expecting for quite some time now. A scrappy, defensive-minded squad with a healthy D. Rose that’s looking to contend for the gold. It’s surprising that through all Rose has been through, he still hasn’t lost his confidence. Those MVP chants are well deserved to say the least.
The Bulls will host the Bucks on Monday for Game 2 of this playoff series.