In the Bucks’ 116-100 win over the Bulls in Game 5, Milwaukee was able to establish their dominance over Chicago despite the absence of Khris Middleton since the All-Star sprained his knee late in Game 2. Since their championship run last year, the Bucks are 5-0 without one of Giannis Antetokounmpo (33 points and nine rebounds), Middleton, or Jrue Holiday playing, including winning two games against the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference.
Coach Mike Budenholzer confirmed Middelton would miss Game 1 of the semifinals on Sunday.
“After Game 2, the team knew what the deal was,” Antetokounmpo said per ESPN. “We knew what we had to do. We had to be desperate. We had to go out there and compete at a high level. Pay attention to detail as much as possible. Help one another defensively. We’ve got to do it as a team. It’s not a one-man show or two-man show.
While the Bucks were down a man, the Bulls were down a few too. Zach LaVine (virus protocols) and Alex Caruso (concussion) missed Game 5, allowing Milwaukee to target solely on taking DeMar DeRozan out of his comfort zone, only allowing the USC product to score 11 points on 5-10 shooting from the field.
According to ESPN, DeRozan was double-teamed 27 times in Game 5, the most doubles of a single player in a playoff game in the past three seasons. He faced 24 double-teams in the previous four games combined.
“We threw everything at him,” Budenholzer said. “He’s such a good player, the season he’s had. The ability to make shots, the ability to get to the free-throw line, he’s phenomenal. He saw a lot of people in front of him, around him, just basically always.”
Along with making DeRozan a nonfactor, the defending champs held the Bulls to under 100 points in three out of five games, winning each of their final three games by double-digits. DeRozan attempted to get his teammates involved, but Chicago had an off night, shooting just 7-25 (3-18 on three-pointers) off Deebo’s passes. Overall, the Bulls hit 15-52 treys on Wednesday.