Even without Giannis, the Bucks have the upper hand over the Bulls on Friday


CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – APRIL 30: Brook Lopez #11 of the Milwaukee Bucks tries to get off a shot under pressure from Coby White #0 and Daniel Theis #27 of the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on April 30, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

CHICAGO – For a team that’s caught few breaks over the last month, this felt like an opportunity to score a win over one of the best teams in the NBA.

Two-time reigning MVP and Bucks guard Giannis Antetoukoumpo was ruled out for Friday’s game with a sprained ankle, giving the Bulls a window of hope for a win over their rivals to the north.

But not even his absence was enough to give the Zach LaVine-less Bulls a shot at a major victory as they chase the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. In fact, two former members of the team had a lot to do with Milwaukee’s victory.

Former center Brook Lopez along with Khris Middleton led the Bucks with 22 points while 2015 Bulls’ first round pick Bobby Portis chipped in 16 during a balanced effort for Milwaukee with Antetokoumpo out of the lineup. They led for the majority of the game and built as much as a 16-point fourth quarter lead before finishing with a 108-98 win over the Bulls.

It drops Billy Donovan’s team three full games behind the Wizards for the last play-in postseason spot in the Eastern Conference with nine games to play.

Coby White led the Bulls with 21 points and helped to produce a late rally from the team that got the lead down to nine in the fourth. He threw up a fourth quarter pass to Daniel Theis in with he caught in midair, made the hoops, and drew the foul.

While again got the Bulls within eight with 1:39 to to with a three-pointer, but Middleton answered on the next possession to officially put the game away.

It was a night that began with some hope that surprise could be in store for the hosts. Instead, a few of their former players along with established Milwaukee veterans send the Bulls to another defeat.

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