Not a seat was open in the electric BMO Harris Bradley Center for game three on Thursday night in Milwaukee. With a mixed crowd of Bucks and Bulls fans, it was the Chicago Bulls and their fans who had the last laugh in a 113-106 double-overtime thriller against the Milwaukee Bucks.
“It’s a game of runs. That’s how basketball is played. We had the first run, they responded right before half. Then they came out in the second half and had another run, and we had the last run to send the game into OT. We had a chance to win, and that’s just the way how basketball is played.” Milwaukee Head Coach Jason Kidd said of the game.
Both the Chicago Bulls and the Milwaukee Bucks got out to a hot start in the first quarter, each scoring 27 points in the frame. It was then the Bucks who made the first run in the second quarter.
Led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee got out to a 49-31 lead after back-to-back three’s by Jared Dudley with 4:03 left in the second quarter. The big lead was short lived as it was Chicago’s turn to make a run. The Bulls went on an 18-2 run after a layup by Jimmy Butler, and closed the half to get within 53-49.
It was the Derrick Rose show in the second half. Derrick Rose led all scorers with 34 points on 12 of 23 shooting along with five three’s on the night. Jimmy Butler contributed with 24 points.
“He is playing at a very high level and playing as an MVP. You look at how he can control the game from shooting the ball from behind the arc very well. If he is making a living at the rim, he puts you in a bad situation. You have to contest his threes and hope that he misses.” Said Kidd on Rose’s performance.
Chicago got out to an 86-75 lead with 6:40 left in the fourth quarter, but the Bucks had one last run in them.
Some Bucks fans had to rush back to their seats after a three point basket by Khris Middleton to cut the deficit to 94-92 with 55.6 seconds to go in regulation. With four seconds to go, Derrick Rose hit 1 of two free throws to tie it up at 95 apiece.
With a chance to send the Milwaukee fans home happy, Middleton missed on a possible game-winning jumper at the buzzer, and the game went into overtime.
After a back-and-forth first overtime, the two teams had to go one more overtime to settle game three in Milwaukee. The experience may have finally paid off for the Bulls as they outscored the Bucks 12-5 in the second overtime, and improving their series lead to 3-0.
“First thing is experience. We never been here before. Playing these though games, going into overtime, it gives us experience. You just got to learn from our mistakes and try to get better.” Said Antetokounmpo.
Antetokounmpo led the way for the Bucks with 25 points while adding 7 rebounds. Michael Carter-Williams had 19 points to go along with 8 assists, and Middleton chipped in 18.
“We had a great chance to win the game twice. Effort was there the whole night and guys played their heart out to give us a chance to win against a very elite team. Execution down the stretch, we got good looks but they just didn’t go in for us.” Stated Kidd on his team.
With the playoff series at 3-0 in Chicago’s favor, both teams will face off again for game four in Milwaukee on Saturday night. If Chicago takes it, Milwaukee will be eliminated from the playoffs.