But­ler takes charge as the Bulls beat the Bucks

The China Post - - SPORTS -

Jimmy But­ler scored a play­off ca­reer high of 31 points as the Chicago Bulls took a 2-0 first round play­off se­ries lead with a 91-82 win over the Mil­wau­kee Bucks on Mon­day. But­ler scored 14 of his game high points in the fourth quar­ter for the Bulls, who main­tained home court ad­van­tage in the be­stof-seven Eastern Con­fer­ence se­ries.

“So far so good,” Bulls Pau Ga­sol said. “We just played two games and won both of them. Re­bound­ing is a key fac­tor, es­pe­cially this time of year. We have to keep work­ing on it.”

Bulls guard Der­rick Rose added 15 points and nine as­sists af­ter be­ing held score­less in the first half.

Rose added nine as­sists and seven re­bounds. Ga­sol had 11 points, 16 re­bounds and four blocks, and Joakim Noah tal­lied a game-high 19 re­bounds for the Bulls, who have won eight of the last nine against their Cen­tral Di­vi­sion ri­val.

“A lot of my scor­ing goes to (my team­mates) for drawing so much at­ten­tion,” But­ler said.

In the night con­test, Klay Thomp­son scored 12 of Golden State’s fi­nal 16 points to carry the War­riors past the New Or­leans Pel­i­cans in game two of their West­ern Con­fer­ence se­ries.

Guard Khris Mid­dle­ton paced the Mil­wau­kee attack with 22 points. Guard Michael Carter- Wil­liams added 12 points for the Bucks, who were outscored 20-8 down the stretch.

“We’re go­ing to fight to get this se­ries back to even and pro­tect our home court,” Mid­dle­ton said of the se­ries switch­ing to Mil­wau­kee’s arena.

But­ler Steps up in the Fourth

Af­ter the Bulls fell be­hind 74-71 early in the fourth quar­ter, But­ler took con­trol. He car­ried the Bulls on his back, scor­ing 14 points in the fourth quar­ter, in­clud­ing nine points dur­ing a 13-0 run that put Chicago up by 10.

Bucks coach Ja­son Kidd they had no an­swer for But­ler.

“I thought we played a pretty good game on the road, giv­ing our­selves an op­por­tu­nity to win,”

said Kidd said.

“But­ler was a one-man show in be­ing able to shoot the three and also get to the bas­ket.

“We’ve got to get open shots and fin­ish at the rim. We missed a lot of bun­nies in the paint.”

Mil­wau­kee cen­ter Zaza Pachu­lia picked up his sec­ond tech­ni­cal foul in a 1:12 span and was ejected af­ter he got tan­gled up with Nikola Mirotic go­ing for a loose ball.

“This is the play­offs and it’s go­ing to be phys­i­cal,” Kidd said. “Noth­ing more. Noth­ing less. Both teams are play­ing to win.”

Mil­wau­kee was limited to just one bas­ket over the fi­nal four min­utes of the game.

In Oak­land, Thomp­son scored 14 of his 26 points in the fi­nal quar­ter to lead a late surge by the War­riors as they con­verted a one-point game into a dou­ble-digit victory.

Stephen Curry, who was held score­less in the fourth quar­ter, fin­ished with 22 points and six as­sists in the win. Dray­mond Green added 14 points and 12 re­bounds for Golden State.

An­thony Davis tal­lied 26 points and 10 re­bounds in the loss, while Eric Gor­don scored 23 points.

Game three will be Thurs­day at the Smoothie King Cen­ter arena in New Or­leans.

“We need to get a good start and set the tone,” Curry said of play­ing on the road. “We got to grind it out. It is go­ing to be like that ev­ery game. We have to be ready to do that.”


Chicago Bulls for­ward Pau Ga­sol, left, looks to a pass against the Mil­wau­kee Bucks dur­ing the sec­ond half in Game 1 of the NBA bas­ket­ball play­offs in Chicago on Satur­day, April 18.

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