MILWAUKEE – The list of possible fixes were many coming out of Wednesday’s awful offensive showing in Boston.
Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg wanted some toughness.
Point guard Ryan Arcidiacono thought constant motion and making the “pass after the pass’’ would turn things around.
Guard Zach LaVine felt like the best solution would be him simply grabbing the short-handed roster and putting it on his capable shoulders.
By the time the third quarter came to an end on Friday night at Milwaukee’s new Fiserv Forum, none of that mattered.
The Bulls were broken, and on both ends of the floor. With no relief in sight.
After jumping out to a 22-point first-half lead over the Bucks, the Bulls suffered their largest second-half deficit in franchise history, losing 123-104.
“Yeah we played really good, but we can’t get too high on that,’’ LaVine said of a first-half turned embarrassing by the second. “We’re not good enough to just ride that wave right now, so whatever we’ve got to do we’ve got to fix the droughts, but it’s unacceptable for us to go out there, have a 20-point lead and blow it that fast. I think it’s upsetting.’’
It was more than that, especially with the ease in which Milwaukee started scoring in that third quarter.
The Bulls watched an 18-point lead at the half all but decimated in the third quarter, as Milwaukee came storming back, outscoring the visiting team 46-17 in the 12-minute stanza.
Arguably one of the worst 12 minutes the Bulls played this season.
The swing was almost mind boggling, especially with how well the Bulls (4-12) looked in those first two quarters.
There was the 40-27 first quarter in which the Bulls completely shot Milwaukee out of its own gym, hitting 7-for-11 from three-point range, and 16-for-26 from the field. The ball was moving – evident by the 10 assists – and the defense was solid.
More of the same in the second, as Justin Holiday finished that first half with 18 points on 6-for-6 from three-point range, and the Bucks were held to just 18 points.
And then just when it seemed like everything was finally tightened up for the undermanned Bulls on both ends of the ball? The third quarter happened.
“Our first half was the best we’ve played all year, and the best 24 minutes we put together as far as going out there, having a great first quarter obviously,’’ Hoiberg said. “We’ve had great first quarters, we’ve gotten off to good starts. We were doing everything right. Second half was obviously a complete turn, and those shots that were going in the first half stopped going down, we lost them in transition, and then we’d come down and try and get it all back, stop doing the things that made us successful.’’
Milwaukee not only scored 46 points, shooting 7-for-13 from three-point range and getting out in transition, but they watched the Bulls go completely ice cold, shooting 1-for-10 from long range in the third, and going back to a style of defense where lay-up lines by the opposition are welcomed.
Little changed in the fourth.
“It just sucks man,’’ LaVine said of the collapse. “We’re not getting matched up on defense. We’re making mental errors. If the ball is not going in the hoop we still gotta play defense, and be tough at the same time. Have the energy and mentality that we had when we were making shots. You’re not going to make every shot, but you can still have that energy and that effort.’’