The Milwaukee Bucks came into Game 6 against the Chicago Bulls with plenty of momentum after winning the last two games in the series. That momentum was stopped from the get go and was never given back, as Chicago clinched the best-of-seven series 4-2 with a 120-66 rout over the Bucks.
Mike Dunleavy led all scorers with 20 points and Pau Gasol added 19 points. Sparked by Dunleavy and Gasol, the Bulls got out a 34-16 first quarter lead, and didn’t look back.
“That was the story of the game. They started really well with their energy. Defensively, offensively, they were running. They were running to try to get easy buckets, and we didn’t have an answer, especially at the beginning of the game. It was a huge punch, and we never had a chance to stay in the game.” said Bucks’ center ZaZa Pachulia.
Frustration set in for the young Bucks in the second quarter as things started getting chippy. After what seemed to be an intentional blow to Michael Carter-Williams by Mike Dunleavy, Buck’s forward Giannis Antetokounmpo fouled Dunleavy hard after a made three-point basket. The foul was charged as a flagrant 2 and Antetokounmpo was ejected from the game.
“They had some momentum in the series. They won a couple in a row and we came out on their home court and put it on them. For anyone that’s been there before, that’s frustrating. I can understand that. Things happen.” said Dunleavy.
The Bulls went into halftime with a 32 point lead by a score of 65-33. From there, things got even worse for Milwaukee. The Bulls came out in the second half like they did in the first half, hot. After starting the second half on a 16-5 run, the Bulls extended their lead to 81-38 forcing Kidd to waive the white flag, as he started playing his reserves in the third quarter.
“It looks a lot better when the ball goes in. I thought our team played very hard, smart, and unselfishly. When you do that, you have a chance to win.” said Bull’s Coach Tom Thibodeau
The Bucks never had a lead in the game, and not a single player for the Bucks scored in double figures. ZaZa Pachulia led the team with just 8 points. The 54-point loss marked the largest in Milwaukee franchise history, regular season or postseason. Milwaukee’s 66 points are the fewest the team has scored in a postseason game.
Although the Bucks ended on a bad note, there was definitely some silver lining to the end of the season. Coach Kidd has a message to the team after the game saying, “I wanted to congratulate the guys on a great year, not just a great series, but a great year for one, putting themselves in this position, and then the second is to learn from this situation and use it not just as motivation for the summer but for them to get better because they’re not a secret anymore and they have to get better if they want to compete against the best.”
Kidd also said, “I think we got better. I think the whole experience of being in the playoffs – you can’t take that away from those guys. This group of young men played at a very high level. A lot higher than anybody thought they could and they believed that they could win Game 6. They just came up short. This is a great opportunity for them to get better. They’re still going to be young. They’re still going to be an exciting team next year. There will be a lot of focus on them. They’re not going to be a surprise.”
For the Bulls, the 54-point victory was the largest margin of victory in a series-clinching game in NBA postseason history. With the victory they will advance to the Eastern Conference Semifinals, where they will take on the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday, May 4th, at Quicken Loans Arena.