NBA playoffs: Bucks trounce Hawks in Game 2 to even Eastern Conference finals
The Bucks never trailed, scored 20 straight points late in the second quarter and led by at least 30 throughout the second half. Both teams rested their starters for the entire fourth quarter.
“We came in focused on each possession at a time in Game 2, and we were able to do it together as a team,” Antetokounmpo said.
Atlanta’s Trae Young struggled for much of the night after finishing with 48 points and 11 assists in the Hawks’ 116-113 Game 1 victory. Young scored 15 points but matched a career worst with nine turnovers before leaving the game for good with 3:48 remaining in the third quarter.
“Last game, he was living in the paint, had a lot of floaters, [and] those are pretty much layups for him,” Holiday said. “We didn’t really want that to get him started early. And I don’t think he went to the free-throw line much tonight, which is also pretty big for us.”
This marks the third straight series in which the Hawks lost Game 2 after winning Game 1 on the road. Those Game 2 losses have been decided by a total of 59 points.
The series shifts to Atlanta for Game 3 on Sunday.
“We got one,” Hawks coach Nate McMillan said. “We’re happy with that. But there’s another level we have to get to in order to win games and advance. That intensity they came out with wasn’t a surprise to us. They just totally dominated the entire game.”
The Clippers were on the brink yet jumped off the court with a Game 3 win that made the rollicking Staples Center crowd scream, sing and, yes, believe.
Brook Lopez scored 16 points for the Bucks, while Khris Middleton had 15 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Antetokounmpo had nine rebounds and six assists.
Danilo Gallinari scored 12 points and John Collins added 11 for the Hawks.
Milwaukee was intent on making life difficult for Young two nights after the Bucks blew a seven-point lead in the final four minutes of Game 1. Young’s Game 1 performance had made him the first player ever with at least 45 points and 10 assists in a conference finals game.
Young committed eight turnovers in the first half alone. He shot six for 16 overall and one for eight from three-point range.
“We needed everybody to be more active,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “The guys, they were great.”
Said Young: “I take complete responsibility for what happened tonight. Taking care of the ball is something I’ve got to be better at. I will be better at it. It’s really they just upped their physicality tonight. We’ve got to do the same.”
Highlights from the Milwaukee Bucks’ 125-91 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Milwaukee pulled ahead in the opening minutes as Antetokounmpo continually got to the rim for easy baskets. The Bucks already owned a double-digit lead before going on a 20-0 run late in the second quarter to break open the game.
Holiday scored nine points in the spurt and capped the run with a three-pointer and layup. Lopez added seven points during that stretch.
The Bucks led 77-45 after a first half in which they shot 64.6% and capitalized on 13 Hawks turnovers, including eight from Young.
Patrick Beverley and the Clippers put the clamps on Suns sharpshooter Devin Booker, who will follow Monty Williams’ advice to “go hoop” in Game 4.
Hawks: Cam Reddish entered the game with 4:56 left in the second quarter, his first game action since Feb. 21 because of an Achilles tendon injury. Young had at least 20 points and seven assists in each of the Hawks’ 13 playoff games before Friday. He’s the first player ever to have at least 20 points and seven assists in each of his first 13 career playoff games. Reserve forward Nathan Knight went to the locker room midway through the fourth quarter. He landed on his back after blocking a shot.
Bucks: The Bucks shot 52.1%, the first time they’ve shot better than 50% in this postseason. Antetokounmpo’s early exit because of the lopsided score resulted in the end of his franchise-record string of six straight games in which he had at least 30 points and 10 rebounds. The last player to collect at least 30 points and 10 rebounds in six straight playoff games was Shaquille O’Neal in 2002. The Bucks improved to 12-3 in playoff games at Fiserv Forum.
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