After losing the first three games, the Milwaukee Bucks have impressively rebounded in their opening-round playoff series against the Chicago Bulls.
The Bucks have started hitting the boards with more regularity in the last two games, which not so coincidentally were victories.
“We know we have to have to rebound the ball against the Bulls,’’ Bucks coach Jason Kidd said. “We’ve made a conscious effort.’’
That was amply apparent in Game 5. The Bucks, who were annihilated on the boards by the Bulls during the regular season and in the first two playoff games, outrebounded the Bulls 48-45 in the fifth game at the United Center in Chicago.
It marked the first time in the series the Bucks won the rebounding battle.
John Henson played a significant role. In 23 minutes off the bench, Henson collected a game-high 14 rebounds. Starting center Zaza Pachulia grabbed 10 rebounds. Another key rebounder for the Bucks was point guard Michael Carter-Williams, who finished with eight.
If the Bucks are to win Game 6 in Milwaukee Thursday night and extend the series for one last game, it goes without saying they'll need to hold their own on the boards.
OFF GUARD: The Bulls’ dynamic backcourt of Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler wasn’t so dynamic in Game 5.
Butler, the former Marquette University star who has been sensational in the series, was 5 for 21 from the field. Rose was equally inept from the field, going 5 for 20.
In other words, Butler and Rose were a combined 10 for 41.
SAY WHAT?: Several times during Game 5, the Bulls crowd chanted, “O.J. sucks.’’
Asked afterward whether he had heard the jeers, the Bucks veteran shooting guard laughed.
“You got 22,000 fans yelling that,’’ said Mayo, who has provided the Bucks with some timely offense off the bench in the last two games, especially Game 4 when he had 18 points. “If I can’t hear that, I’m deaf.
“I’m locked in, so it doesn’t bother me. You got to stay poised and do the right things.’’
BONUS SHOTS: No NBA team has ever recovered from a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series. ... If there is a Game 7, it would be in Chicago on Saturday night at 5:30. … Jared Dudley, who made the perfect pass to Jerryd Bayless for the game-winning basket in Game 4, said he took three steps back in order to get a better view of the court. “I learned that from Grant Hill,’’ Dudley said. … Gasol on the Bulls having lost two straight games: “It’s a challenge. It’s a test to see how we’ll handle this.’’ … With the Bucks being heavy underdogs, Bucks point guard Michael Carter-Williams wore a Rocky Balboa T-shirt to Game 5. … Carter-Williams on Thursday night’s game at the BMO Harris Bradley Center: “I can’t wait.’’