CHICAGO – It’s been a little bit since fans have been able to “See Red” for a playoff game at the United Center.
After the Bulls were eliminated from the playoffs by the Celtics in Game 6 of their first round series on April 28, 2017 at the United Center, the team went into a four-season funk where they were well out of postseason contention.
But that all changed in during the 2021-2022 season, when a new group of players both young and old were able to get 46 wins over the course of the winter to put the Bulls back in the postseason for the first time in five years.
The culmination of a breakthrough season for many Bulls’ fans comes on Friday night when the team returns to postseason basketball at the United Center when they face the Bucks in Game 3 of their first round series at 7:30 PM.
Billy Donovan’s team returns home with a healthy amount of moment as they’ve surprised many with their play against the defending NBA champions in the first two games. They narrowly missed knocking off the Bucks in Milwaukee in Game 1 but didn’t let another opportunity slip away in Game 2 as they made a big early lead stick in a 114-110 victory at Fiserv Forum.
That tied the best-of-seven series at one game apiece and has brought some new enthusiasm to fans who were skeptical of the Bulls’ chances after being swept by the Bucks in the regular season and an 8-17 finish to the regular season.
But there is some belief with the home team now thanks to their good play and the fact that Milwaukee will be without their second-leading scorer Khris Middleton for the rest of the series due to a sprained MCL in his left knee.
Fans figure to be loud tonight as they have been all season long as the Bulls lead the NBA in home attendance with an average of 21,881 fans while selling 99.8 percent of their tickets. The support is something that’s expected from the team as they look to take a step closer to a first round upset of the defending champions.
In the regular season, the Bulls went 27-14 at the United Center, which was tied for the third-best record in the Eastern Conference.
“I’m looking forward to it,” said guard Zach LaVine, who will play in his first home playoff game with the Bulls since joining the team for the 2017-2018 season. “I guess it’s going to be loud. I haven’t played at the United Center during the playoffs, so first experience for me, I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.
“Let’s go out there and put on a show for them.”
The Bulls will also host the Bucks for Game 4 on Sunday at 12 p.m. at the United Center.