Chicago Bulls will face the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks beginning Sunday in the 1st round of the NBA playoffs – Twin Cities

The Chicago Bulls will face the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the NBA playoffs, staying close to home to begin their first postseason appearance in five years.

The best-of-seven series will start Sunday at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee. Game time and TV coverage are undetermined.

The Bulls (46-36) — who completed the regular season Sunday night with a 124-120 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves — became locked in to the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference last week after beginning 2022 at the top of the conference standings.

The defending NBA champion Bucks (51-31) were neck and neck with the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers but dropped to the third seed Sunday after resting most of their starters in a loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The rivalry between the Bulls and Bucks seemed to gain an new edge after Alex Caruso’s injury at the hands of Grayson Allen in January, but it has been a lopsided series ever since. The Bulls lost all four meetings with the Bucks this season, including 28- and 21-point blowouts in the last two games.

“They’re champions for a reason,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said. “They’re battle-tested. They’ve been through this. We will have to play very, very good basketball on both ends of the floor.”

Despite facing the hardest schedule in the league after the All-Star break, the Bucks posted a 15-7 record as they chase back-to-back titles.

Giannis Antetokounmpo poses an impossible problem for most teams, but the Bucks have thrived in recent wins over the Bulls on the strength of other players such as Brook Lopez and Jrue Holiday.

“They have a really good team and a complete team,” Zach LaVine said. “I think we do as well. We just have to attack them and figure out a way we can beat them. … We have to try to bring the fight to them because if we’re back on our heels, it’s not going to be good.”

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