The Milwaukee Bucks are headed to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Milwaukee played host to a shorthanded Chicago Bulls side that did not have the services of Zach LaVine or Alex Caruso on Wednesday evening, and in one of the most dominant performances we’ve seen in the postseason this year, the Bucks were able to pick up a Game 5 win, 116-100, to secure a 4-1 series victory.
Giannis Antetokounmpo set the tone from the beginning of the game. On Milwaukee’s first possession, the reigning NBA Finals MVP cleaned up a miss with an emphatic tip slam before spending the rest of the quarter imposing his will on the Bulls. By the time the first frame ended, Antetokounmpo had 15 points on 5-for-5 shooting, converted five of his seven attempts from the free throw line, and hauled in six rebounds and the Bucks had an emphatic 34-18 lead.
Milwaukee would go on to lead by as many as 29 points in the first half and took a 60-42 lead into the locker room. Antetokounmpo continued to be unstoppable, as he eight of his nine shot attempts in the half and scored more points (23) than Chicago’s entire starting five (20).
Five other Bucks players — led by Brook Lopez’s eight — scored at least five points, while the team connected on 53.3 percent from the field. Chicago, meanwhile, had Patrick Williams score 12 and Coby White score 11, but there was simply a lid on the basket for everyone else, as the team went into the locker room shooting 38.6 percent from the field and 25.9 percent from three.
While the Bulls were able to get some positive momentum going in the third by cutting the lead down to 11, Milwaukee was able to withstand those jabs and respond with haymakers. Immediately upon Chicago threatening to get things down to single-digits, the Bucks responded with a 13-2 run and kept them at arm’s length for the remainder of the game, leading by more than 20 points for lengthy stretches of the second half.
Six Milwaukee players scored in double-digits, led by a monster evening from Antetokounmpo. Despite checking out for the remainder of the game with eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Antetokounmpo went for 33 points on 11-for-15 shooting with nine rebounds and three assists. Pat Connaughton provided 20 points off the bench, while Bobby Portis couldn’t be kept off the glass, adding 17 rebounds to his 14 points. A 23-point evening for Williams and Nikola Vucevic’s 19 points, 16 rebounds, and six assists led the way for Chicago.
With the win, Milwaukee earned passage to the Eastern Conference Semifinals, where it will go head-to-head with the Boston Celtics in a highly-anticipated second round matchup. The two teams split their four-game regular season series this year.