Keys To The Game: Bulls at Bucks Game 5 (4.27.22)

Remind Me Later

Body

The Bulls have their backs against the wall heading into Game 5 of their first round series against the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks.

Chicago lost 119-95 in Game 4, with Milwaukee holding the Bulls to 38% shooting from the field.

The Bulls will need to dig deep both mentally and physically and figure out a way to crack the effective Bucks defense like they did in their 114-110 Game 2 victory in which they shot 49% from the field.

Here's how Chicago can come out on top in Game 5.

Confidently shoot the first open shot

The Bulls as Zach LaVine noted, have had to deal with a second defender stepping up hard whenever he or DeMar DeRozan drive towards the rim. This often creates an opening for whoever catches the kickout pass to knock down a wide-open shot.

Of course, in a makes or miss league, the Bulls need to hit those high percentage looks.

Chicago is the second-worst team in the postseason on wide-open 3-pointers per NBA.com, shooting just over 30%. The Bulls can't be discouraged by this figure, rather they need to attack even more confidently from the outside.

To beat an extremely aggressive Bucks defense, the Bulls will need to avoid passing up open 3-pointers to drive into the teeth of the defense unless the can accept the contact necessary to draw fouls.

Nikola Vucevic open jumpshot

Focus on boxouts on defense

Throughout this series the Bulls have battled hard on defense but they have lost the rebounding battle by at least seven boards per game over Games 3 and 4. If Chicago wants to compete in Game 5, boxouts simply have to be a serious focus.

Players like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez have the length to snag rebounds even when they are boxed out, so not boxing them out simply kills the Bulls when they are trying to build momentum.

The Bulls are last in the league among playoff teams in second chance points, and while the Bucks aren't dominating this category, their just under 12 points second chance per game makes them tough to stop when you are already giving up clean 3-point looks.

A strong dedication to getting bodies on the defensive glass will give the Bulls a chance to stop Wednesday night's game from getting away from them early.

DeMar and Nikola rebound

Exert more energy on closeouts

The Bucks are a dangerous team on offense because they combine Giannis Antetokounmpo's devastating ability to finish at the rim with a collection of role players who are very efficient 3-point shooters.

In the absence of All-Star wing Khris Middleton, shooters Grayson Allen, Wes Matthews and Pat Connaughton have all hurt the Bulls defense with their 3-point shooting ability.

Chicago's defense is often collapsing hard on Antetokounmpo, and committing multiple defenders to him forces the other three Bulls defenders to scramble around to cover the open shooter.

They've been doing a poor job of this, giving up open 3-pointers to a team that was top-five in 3-point percentage in the regular season. With Game 5 being do-or-die for Chicago, we should see the Bulls flying around on defense.

closeout Bobby Portis
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