Booing Bucks’ Grayson Allen has backfired, and now Bulls are on the brink
The Bulls seemed to have the defending champs on the ropes after the first two games, but things have drastically changed. In a series that has been separated by role players, Allen has been the face of Milwaukee’s dominance in that department ... boos and all.
It should warm the hearts of the Bulls and their fans to hear about Grayson Allen’s tough week.
The Bucks reserve guard was booed unmercifully in Games 3 and 4 at the United Center. And it didn’t stop there.
“Walking on the bus? ‘Boooo.’ In the hotel? ‘Boooo.’ About to watch film? ‘Boooo,’ ’’ Allen said of his plight.
Then he started laughing. If only his teammates would leave him alone.
The worst news for the Bulls is they’re down 3-1 and headed for a possible elimination Wednesday in Game 5, but that was only 1A. 1B was Allen’s emergence and how the Bucks took the booing and hatred thrown his way after he arrived in Chicago and turned it into fuel against the Bulls and their fans.
Bucks players see Allen walk into practice, and they boo him. When they see him in the hotel? More boos.
“[My teammates] have so much fun doing it,’’ Allen said. “I think it’s funny. I think it’s honestly hilarious.
‘‘They’ve kind of turned it into a fun thing. It makes hearing it out there in the game a lot easier, too, because they think it’s so funny.’’
So much for Allen’s tough week.
And the former Duke guard had plenty of fun on the court, too, playing some of the best basketball of his career.
Allen’s 22 points in Game 3 were a playoff career high, which he surpassed in Game 4 with 27, including going 6-for-7 from three-point range.
“I was in the right spots a lot,’’ Allen said. “Knocked down a couple of shots early and got in a rhythm.’’
He has done much more than that. Allen has completely changed the momentum of the series.
Since becoming public enemy No. 1 in Chicago in January, it has been quite a roller-coaster ride for Allen. His one-game suspension for the flagrant-2 foul that fractured Alex Caruso’s right wrist was the low, but these last two games have been the high.
After the first two games of the series, the sixth-seeded Bulls actually had the defending champs on the ropes, surviving Milwaukee with a split and heading to Chicago with the Bucks down All-Star Khris Middleton (sprained medial collateral ligament).
The feeling was that an even bigger burden would fall on all-world forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. Instead, the role players, led by Allen, have stepped up in back-to-back Bucks blowouts.
After some incidents in college, too, it’s easy to assume that Allen likes playing the villain, but that’s not the reality.
“I would still say that it’s not naturally comfortable for me, but I am to the point right now where anytime I go out and play basketball, I just remind myself to have fun with it, so I am having fun with it,’’ Allen said. “It’s not something I feed off of. Like I’m not going out searching for it like, ‘Oh, I love this.’ ’’
Leave that to his teammates.
“He’s played amazing,’’ Antetokounmpo said.
“Maybe we’ve got to boo him even more. Maybe Milwaukee fans have got to boo him . . . no, we’re not going to do that.’’
It definitely wouldn’t hurt.
Note: Bulls coach Billy Donovan said Alex Caruso remained in the concussion protocol after going through further testing Monday and was day-to-day for Game 5.