Bulls struggle as they lose to Bucks, but still clinch playoff berth



CHICAGO (CBS/AP) – The Bulls lost to the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night, but still clinched a playoff berth as the Cleveland Cavaliers lost.

Zach LaVine was out on Tuesday night, which meant DeMar DeRozan. He scored 40 for the Bulls, but the Bucks took control early and came away with an easy win.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, trying to outrun LeBron James and Joel Embiid in a tight race for his first scoring title, finished with 18 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. But the two-time MVP started slow and spent most of the fourth quarter on the bench after picking up his fifth foul.

Lopez turned in her best performance after missing most of the season with a back injury. Khris Middleton scored 19.

Grayson Allen and Bobby Portis added 13 points apiece as the Bucks completed a four-game sweep over the Bulls.

DeRozan did everything he could to carry the Bills, LaVine was sidelined with lingering left knee pain.

Patrick Williams added 18 points. Nikola Vucevic struggled, going 3 of 19 and scoring seven points. He drew loud cheers when he hit

Allen on the ground at the start of the fourth quarter, delighting angry fans

Allen’s hard foul earlier this season on Chicago’s Alex Caruso that resulted in a broken wrist.

But the Bulls once again lost to an elite opponent. They are combined 2-20 against the top four teams in the East and West.

The Bulls also fell to sixth place in the Eastern Conference, one game behind Toronto with three to play. The Raptors beat Atlanta.

Vucevic hit a 3-point corner for Chicago just before the halftime buzzer and DeRozan hit a jumper in the opening seconds of the third to cut it 58-48.

Milwaukee regrouped and pushed the lead to 21, only for the Bulls to fall within 10 at the end of the third. Two free throws from Antetokounmpo in the last minute of the quarter and a top 3 from Jrue Holiday made it 96-80 before DeRozan hit the jumper to close the gap to 14 before the fourth.

Because the Cavs lost 120-115 to the Orlando Magic, the Bulls clinched a playoff spot.

“You know, I’m just happy for them that they have the chance to go through this – and a lot of guys haven’t gone through this – so this will be the first time for them,” the Bulls head coach said. . Billy Donovan, “and then certainly for the organization, to be able to get back to the playoffs – I think we’re trying to build.”

“For us to still have a chance and have the opportunity to take it, and use those next two games to go in the right direction at the right time – that’s what it’s all about,” DeRozan added.


ADVICE

Bucks: Antetokounmpo was available despite right knee pain.

Bulls: PG Lonzo Ball suffered another setback in his recovery from surgery for a torn meniscus in his left knee, raising further doubts over whether he will play again this season. Ball felt some discomfort after trying to restart after a 10-day break, coach Billy Donovan said. Donovan said the next step will likely be a “meeting of the minds” in a day or two. And the possibility of Ball missing the rest of the season is “on the table.” Ball hasn’t played since Jan. 14. … Donovan said he doesn’t necessarily feel LaVine will have to miss any games, though his status for Wednesday’s game with Boston is in question.


FOLLOWING

Bucks: Host the Boston Celtics on Thursday.


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