The little ball has become an identity for the Chicago Bulls this season, but their short list will be tested in the first round of the playoffs against the size of the Milwaukee Bucks.

From the guard to the center, the Bucks present a challenging match for the Bulls – especially in the paint. Bucks concedes a 3-point line to score paint in defense and reduce the odds on the rim, creating obstacles for small 3-point teams such as the Bulls.

Most disturbing is the potential mismatch created by their two starting clubs: 7-foot center-back Brooke Lopez and forward Janis Atetokunmpa with a score of 6-11.

“You really have to play to beat them,” said the center of the “Bulls” Nikolai Vuchevich. “They’re not going to defeat themselves.”

The game plan of Bucks is based on their length, which is not limited to Lopez and Atetokunmpo. The average growth in the starting lineup of Bucks is 2 inches higher than that of the Bulls.

Guardian Jrou Holliday – the best defender on the Bucks list and possibly in the NBA – boasts a wingspan of 6 feet 7. Experienced defenders Holliday and Wesley Matthews are persistent when facing screens, fighting or slipping to eliminate inconsistencies that usually arise. -n-role.

The Bucks have included another variable in their defense plan with Lopez’s return last month. He played just 13 games in the regular season after a back injury in the opening match that required surgery and months of recovery. But he dominated the final game between the Bucks and the Bulls in April, scoring 28 points on the team while shooting 9 of 14.

Only one of Lopez’s baskets in this game came because of the paint when he hit the Bulls on the rim. He also affected the defense by blocking three shots and stealing the ball twice in the dominant game.

“His size in defense is huge for them,” Vucevic said. “It allows them to limit paint. He can take a lot of things off the rim. ”

Despite some height in a match against Atetokunmpa or Lopez, Vucevic weighing 6-10, 260-pounds, succeeded against the Bucks at the start of the season, averaging 20 points in the first three meetings. In these performances Vuchavich balanced his shooting – he jumped for middle-distance and three-pointers and worked to the rim for leaps and bounds.

Such a balance is key to Vucevic’s success in the postseason, when he said the Bulls plan to stretch the Bucks in attack to reveal the paint as much as possible. The Bulls are already creating more frequent moments for Vučević when he spreads the ball in the center of the field, which prevents opponents from killing the body in the paint.

The Bulls can also stand out in two big squads to face the Bucks in the paint, playing simultaneously with Tristan Thompson and Vucevic. Thompson was signed after the expiration of the trade to provide a size around the rim for a small list, and on average he stayed off the bench for 16.3 minutes.

The Bulls didn’t often use this kind of “two big ones,” but coach Billy Donavan said it might be an option against the Bucks.

“I think (Tristan and I) can coexist on the floor with my ability to play outside,” Vucevic said. “It was a small choice, but I think the times when we played together, I don’t think it was bad. There have been many positive moments that we can try to continue, explore and see how it works. ”

It’s hard to win a paint game and the Bulls need to win four. Success in the postseason depends on both mental and physical consistency, which became a problem for Vučević at the beginning of the season.

Vuchovich can be transparent with his frustration – especially if his shots don’t fall – and that often spills over for the rest of his game. This mental barrier can become even higher in the postseason. Although he was in his 11th season in the NBA, Vucevic played in the playoffs only once: a loss in a series in the first round of the Toronto Raptors with a score of 4-1 in 2019 from “ Orlando Magic.

While the Bulls prepare for a physically difficult series, Donavan believes that emotional buoyancy will be vital for Vucevic to solidify the team in the paint.

“I really, really like the pictures he got,” Donavan said. “He stays at such a high level in the offensive. But he has to understand that in a particular playoff game he can bounce the ball badly, but he still has to stay really busy in defense and constantly fight us off. ”

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