Keys To The Game: Bulls at Bucks (1.21.22)

Remind Me Later

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On Friday night the Bulls get their first look at the defending NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks and reigning Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Chicago will be in good spirits, coming off a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday. The Bulls win over the Cavs ended a four-game Bulls' losing streak.

Alex Caruso returned to the Chicago rotation on Wednesday, collecting 9 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and a block while finishing a team-high +18 on the floor.

Caruso, DeMar DeRozan and the Bulls will look to build momentum with a big win on the road on Friday night.

Multiple defenders contesting Giannis in the paint

Former NBA head coach Stan Van Gundy has a now-infamous clip floating around the internet where he screams "build a f***ing wall" at his team, in reference to their defensive strategy of building a wall of defenders to deny penetration into the paint.

The Bulls will need to heed Van Gundy's advice if they want to have a shot at leaving Milwaukee with a victory.

Per Cleaningtheglass.com, Giannis Antetokounmpo is shooting 76% at the rim, the second best mark of his career, while also having a massive 36.8% usage rate.

If Chicago can make a concerted effort to keep Giannis from parking himself in the paint, a win is well within reach.

Giannis Antetokounmpo dunks

Attack Bucks bigs in pick-and-pop

Milwaukee became the poster-child over the past several years for teams that rely heavily on the drop coverage in the pick-and-roll. This means that the Bucks big men back pedal into the paint to contest layups in favor of giving up midrange shots.

Unlike most players and teams, this plays right into the hands of DeMar DeRozan and the Chicago Bulls.

Now, of course, the Bucks won last year's title because they learned how to mix things up and play some different coverages. But at the end of the day, there will be opportunities present for DeRozan and Co. to attack from the midrange and perimeter.

When DeRozan inevitably works with Nikola Vucevic in the pick-and-pop, we need to see Vooch commit to letting 3-pointers fly early and often. Chicago has to make Giannis, Bobby Portis and others move around often on defense.

Nikola Vucevic

DeMar, DeMar and more DeMar

We mentioned earlier how DeMar DeRozan and Vucevic will be a major factor in the pick-and-pop, building space for DeRozan to work with and giving Vooch easy scoring opportunities. But outside of the pick-and-roll, Chicago will need DeRozan to unleash every trick in the bag against the defending champion Bucks.

The Fiserv Forum crowd will surely be fired up for their first look at a Bulls team that currently sits atop a very different-looking Eastern Conference they won last season.

DeMar DeRozan shooting a jump shot
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