MILWAUKEE | The Milwaukee Bucks took a 2-0 series lead over the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals with a 125-103 win Friday night.
Player of the game: Giannis Antetokounmpo
After a non-Giannis-esque performance in Game 1, you expected more from the Greek Freak in Game 2. Boy, did he deliver. Giannis finished with a team-high 30 points, 17 rebounds and five assists. It wasn’t typical domination game from the Greek Freak, but he set the tone for the Bucks from the tip.
“I know every night when the game starts, my teammates are looking at me as a leader of the team,” Giannis said. “When the game starts, we’ve got to set the tone and we’ve got to be focused. You’ve got to make sure the whole team is into the game. And I think it definitely gave the team a lot of energy to start the game.”
“He plays so hard, he lays it all on the line, every time,” Bucks Coach Mike Budenholzer said. “It was a great start for us. I think everybody fed off of Giannis and how he started the game.”
The first basket of the game was a Giannis dunk. Milwaukee started the game on a 9-0 run and would not relinquish the lead the rest of the way.
Play of the game: Giannis throws it down on Siakam
Someone always ends up on a poster when trying to defend Giannis. This time, it was the Raptors’ young forward Pascal Siakam.
The good: The Start
I don’t think you could script a better start to Game 2. The Bucks got off to a 9-0 run leading to a Nick Nurse timeout. They held the lead for the rest of the game.
The not so good: Third quarter
The third frame has mostly been a quarter the Bucks could count on dominating, but Toronto battled and won the third 39-31. They cut the lead down to as low as 13 before Milwaukee went on a 6-0 run to push it back to 19 points. Kawhi Leonard was nearly unstoppable in the quarter scoring 15 points (5-9 FG). Norman Powell and Fred VanVleet came in off the bench scoring five points each. It was the only quarter the Bucks didn’t outscore the Raptors.
Stat of the game: 54 points for the Bench Mob
The bench mob was spectacular in Game 2. Ersan Ilyasova, Malcolm Brogdon and George Hill were all in double-digit scoring. Brogdon hasn’t seemed to miss a beat since returning to the court from his injury. He has fit in nicely with the second unit. Brogdon helped the offense rolling after their hot start scoring eight points in the first quarter. He also played a big role in a crucial stretch in the third quarter. The Raptors clawed their way back cutting the deficit to 13. Then, out of a timeout Brogdon scored a layup, found Hill on a fastbreak for another layup and found Hill again for another layup capping off a 6-0 run to put the Bucks back up 19.
Ilyasova had himself a game, especially in the first half. Wearing a shooting sleeve, the Turkish Hammer was a force on both sides of the ball early on. He drew two charges and dropped 15 points through the first two quarters. Ilyasova finished with 17 points (7-11 FG), three rebounds, two assists, two steals and had the highest +/- on the night (22).
“It was clearly his best game of the year, and in a big moment for Ersan to step up,” Budenholzer said. “He’s such a pro.”
“I mean, everybody is saying about the sleeve,” Ilyasova said. “I was making joke in the locker room: Maybe I should put another sleeve on my left if we don’t win by 30. Well, the thing is that’s the beauty about our team. Everybody wants to look at the bench. We have a deep bench and the whole season we rely on each other. Obviously, in this game we kind of learn a lesson from Game 1 and everybody just from the gates was ready, and especially the bench. I think the starting five set the tone, and we have to just do the same thing.”
What they said:
Eric Bledsoe on Game 3…
We’ve got to treat Game 3 like it’s Game 7. Go out there and compete.
Nurse on the loss…
We didn’t do much well tonight, obviously.
Kyle Lowry on going back home…
We get to go back home and protect our home court, like they did these last two games. We’ve got a chance to go home, protect home court and do what we’re supposed to do.
In case you missed it:
*The Bucks have now won six consecutive playoff games, which ties the longest winning streak in postseason franchise history (done two other times).
*Milwaukee has now tied the NBA record for 20-point wins in a single postseason with six (done three other times). Of the Bucks’ 10 wins this postseason, eight have come by double digits.
*The Bucks hauled in 53 rebounds, marking their ninth game of this year’s postseason with 50+ rebounds which are the most 50-rebound games in a single postseason in Bucks franchise history.
*Milwaukee led from start to finish, tallying its second wire-to-wire victory of this year’s playoffs.
*Giannis grabbed a playoff-career-high-tying 17 rebounds and led the Bucks with 30 points (10-20 FG), marking his second career playoff game scoring 30+ points with 15+ rebounds. He is just the second player in franchise history to have multiple 30-point/15-rebound career playoff games, along with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (17).
*Ilyasova finished the night with 17 points (7-11 FG) and three rebounds. This is his second game of this year’s postseason with 15+ points and sixth of his playoff career.
*Mirotic scored 15 points and has now scored in double figures in his last three games.
*The Raptors were led by Leonard with 31 points and eight rebounds, marking his ninth game of the playoffs with 30+ points.
*Norman Powell tallied his third game in double figures this postseason, as he finished the night with 14 points.
*Toronto also had Lowry (15) score in double figures.
The Bucks (2-0) will head North to the play the Raptors (0-2) in Toronto for Game 3 on Sunday. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:00pm.