Giannis Antetokounmpo on Brook Lopez’s Performance in Game 1 against Bulls: ‘He is a Big Piece of Who We Are’

The Milwaukee Bucks protected their home court advantage taking a 1-0 series lead over the Chicago Bulls in a 93-86 win over the Chicago Bulls in the opening weekend of the NBA Playoffs.

The Bucks entered the game having won 17 of their last 18 games against the Bulls. An early 32-16 lead looked promising, but then, scoring troubles, and 14 turnovers in the second half, caused the game to close in.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, who led the team with 27 points, 16 rebounds and two blocks, praised teammate Brook Lopez for his performance, especially late in fourth quarter. When Antetokounmpo picked up his fifth foul during a stretch in which the Bulls cut the deficit to just one point, Lopez scored seven points, along with two boards and a blocked shot.

“Tonight in the fourth quarter he was amazing,” Giannis says, per CBS. “He was able to get to his spots, shoot his floaters, get to the rim, make his free throws. Defensively he was amazing, contesting shots. He’s big for us, he’s big. He had a great game, we need him to keep playing this way, we need him to keep helping the team any way possible. He is a big piece of who we are.”

Lopez finished with 18 points, five rebounds and two blocks as the second leading scorer for the team in Game 1. He also was a force on defense against the Bulls, who shot only 32.3 percent from the field, a season-low, and went 11-of-27 at the rim and 9-23 from mid range.

“We showed resiliency tonight,” Lopez says, per ESPN. “Things didn’t go our way offensively for a lot of the game, and we fought through it and did a good job defensively.”

The Bucks will now get ready to face off against Chicago at home for Game 2 on Wednesday.