CHICAGO – “It was fun while it lasted” is a statement that could apply to the Bulls in two different ways Monday night.
For one, their three-game winning streak, the longest of the season, came to a halt with a 117-103 defeat at the hands of the Bucks at the United Center. The statement could be applied to the game itself.
Jim Boylen’s team came out of the gates quickly against a Giannis Antetokounmpo-less Milwaukee team and led by as many as 14 in the first quarter. Like it has many times this year, however, a disastrous second quarter sunk any hopes of the hosts finally beating the Bucks this season.
Already without Kris Dunn (migraine) and Otto Porter (lower leg strain), the Bulls were outscored 38-16, including a 14-2 run early in the second, that turned a 13-point advantage after the first quarter into a nine-point deficit. That was enough to do in the Bulls, who could never make up the deficit in the final 24 minutes as they fall to 16-44 on the season.
Problems in the second quarter are nothing new for the Bulls this season, as they had an average point differential of -2.6 point differential during the season – the third-worst in the league. It’s only a bit lower than the team’s third quarter differential (-2.7), but that figures to not be the case after Monday’s second quarter debacle.
That actually changed over the last three games, when the Bulls had a +6.3 point differential in the victories over the Grizzlies, Magic, and the Celtics. It was not the case at all in the second quarter on Monday, hence the end of the brief winning streak.