Milwaukee Bucks claim victory in Game 5, Chicago Bulls eliminated from playoffs
April 28, 2022
The Milwaukee Bucks have won 116-100 over the Chicago Bulls in Game 5 of their playoff series. The victory marked Chicago’s elimination from the first round of the playoff as the Bucks won four of their five games.
Milwaukee dominated the early stages of the game, leading 34-18 in the first quarter over Chicago and 60-42 in the second quarter. The 18 points wide was slightly too much for the Bulls. Bucks loosen up a bit in the fourth quarter to give the losing Chicago room to breathe.
That being said, the game was reserved for the defending NBA Champion to take over its first-round series victory and advance to face the Eastern Conference standings No. 2, the Boston Celtics.
Khris Middleton out
The road to victory was not that flawless for Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer and his men as they recorded dull plays back in Game 1 and Game 2. Chicago was close to a tie with Milwaukee in Game 1, trailing with only seven points behind, which resulted in the Bucks claiming the win. In Game 2, however, the Bulls had the upper hand and beat the Bucks with four points tight finish.
The Bucks had to proceed in the playoffs without forward Khris Middleton from Game 3 onward after the player's knee injury rendered him unable to play for at least two weeks.
Budenholzer admitted that the 30-year-old was the franchise’s centerpiece in its forward lineup and a valuable effective player to the team.
“We’ve been talking about the depth of the roster, the quality of the roster, a lot this season. Other guys have gotten opportunities and played well. And our defense has tightened up and we’ve leaned hard on that these three games.
"But we’ve got depth, we’ve got a good group. We miss Khris, I don’t think anyone underestimates how important and how effective he is for us. While we don’t have him, we got to be our best up and down the roster.”
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Pat Connaughton lead Bucks to victory
In the absence of Middleton, it was pretty much down to Milwaukee duo forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and Pat Connaughton to lead the team on the offense.
Antetokounmpo had yet another stellar game night on Wednesday, hitting team-high 33 points, three assists, and nine rebounds to ensure a clean three games sweep off the board for Chicago. However, the “Greek Freak” also admitted Middleton's absence was burdensome.
"Sometimes I got to score the ball. But in my head I don't think about, like, 'hey I got to score the ball. Khris is down, I got to score 40,” the 27-year-old said.
"It's kind of the opposite. It's like, Khris is down now, we got to get 30-40 points from somebody else. So you got to move the ball."
As for Connaughton, the 2021 NBA Champion was responsible for Milwaukee’s ball movement. He made five for 22 three-pointers throughout the previous games and six for nine on Wednesday. Additionally, the Arlington-born managed 20 points, which made him second in scoring behind Antetokounmpo.
"It's just about having the same mindset. Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don't. But for me, and what I think I've built upon this year, is trying to make sure that I'm keeping myself honest with the way I'm shooting them,” Connaughton added.
"Even when you make some, they may not feel good. Well, why didn't they feel good? I think taking some time, having two days between games, being able to get in the gym and kind of reassess myself. How my shot feels, how my hand feels on the ball, where my base is at."