Through two quarters the Bulls looked to be on their way to making the right kind of franchise history on Friday night in Milwaukee.
Then the third quarter happened and in a flash the Bulls were on an all too familiar other side of it.
The Milwaukee Bucks poured it on in the third quarter of their 123-104 victory, outscoring the Bulls 46-17 that included a 41-11 run at one point.
What made the third quarter even more depressing was how well the Bulls played in the first half. It was arguably their best half of the season, leading the 10-4 Bucks by 18 despite being 15-point underdogs.
Jabari Parker and Justin Holiday were filling in admirably as second options for the ailing Zach LaVine, something they hadn't done in past games as LaVine continued to rack up massive usage rates on a nightly basis.
Holiday made all six of his 3-point attempts and Parker stayed hot early in games with 15 first-quarter points and had 17 on 12 shots at the break. It was the perfect recipe for success, and the fact that they led as many point as they did with LaVine scoring just nine on 12 shots made it all the more impressive.
The good play didn't last. It's not all that surprising that Milwaukee made a run in the second half. They're arguably the East's second best team (the Bulls will play the best on Saturday night) and were 6-1 at home with the frontrunner for league MVP.
What was surprising is that it happened so quickly and that everything the Bulls did right in the first 24 minutes got totally flipped on its head.
The third quarter was a nightmare to say the least. It took the Bucks less than 8 minutes to erase the 18-point deficit, with a Thon Maker 3-pointer in the final minute of the quarter giving Milwaukee an 86-75 lead, capping off that ridiculous 41-12 run.
The Bucks shot 16 of 24 in the third period, with three different players (Bledsoe, Antetokounmpo, Middleton) scoring 9 or more points. The Bulls, meanwhile, went 1 for 10 from beyond the arc, 6-for-23 from the field and had five turnovers after just six in the first half. They wound up scoring 41 points after halftime - Milwaukee scored 78 - one more than they scored in that first quarter.
They finished with five assists and six turnovers in the second half after a 17:6 ratio in the first two quarters. Holiday hit a floater early in the third but went scoreless the rest of the evening, finishing with a pretty-in-the-box-score 20 points but not much else. Parker went 2-for-7 with two turnovers in the second half.
LaVine, battling an illness, had another horrid shooting performance, going 6 of 20 and scoring 15 points in 34 uninspiring minutes.
It's hard to describe just how bad it was. Fred Hoiberg has said in the past he doesn't want to keep using the fact that his team is young as an excuse, but it's the truth. They're not yet ready to handle adversity, especially with three core players out. They weren't going to shoot 9 for 15 from deep in the second half like they did in the first, but when things went sour the Bulls had no way to stop it.
And they once again made the wrong kind of history with a third quarter that somehow was worse than the 46-17 score looks.