The Bucks, on paper, are the most talented team left in the postseason. Plus, they don’t have major injuries to any of their three stars.
In Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Atlanta Hawks, they certainly played like a team with an overwhelming talent advantage.
After one quarter, it seemed like the Hawks might be able to provide another close fight for the Bucks as the score stood at 34-28.
Then, in a flash, the game was beyond reach.
The Bucks used a 20-0 run in the second quarter, where they outscored the Hawks 43-17, to blow the game open and put it beyond reach. They never looked back after that run, and never gave the Hawks a chance to bring themselves back in the game.
The total annihilation saw the Bucks ahead 103-63 heading into the fourth quarter, and Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday didn’t even need to play in the final stanza. The fourth quarter was effectively garbage time.
The Bucks’ stars had a solid game through the three quarters they played in:
- Antetokounmpo: 25 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals (11 of 18 from the field)
- Middleton: 15 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 steal (6 of 13 from the field)
- Holiday: 22 points, 2 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal, 1 block (9 of 14 from the field)
In addition, Brook Lopez scored an efficient 16 points on 6 of 18 shooting while also stealing the ball three times. PJ Tucker, never known for his offense, finished the game with 1 point, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.
The Bucks, both individually and as a unit, played impeccable defense. They forced Trae Young into shooting 6 of 16 and limited him to 15 points. The only two other Hawks to score in double figures were Danilo Gallinari (12 points) and John Collins (11 points). That’s right, no one on the Hawks broke the 20-point mark.
On offense, Milwaukee were unselfish with the ball and shot the lights out. They finished 50 of 96 from the field (52.1 FG%) and 15 of 41 from deep (36.6 3P%). They also had 29 assists, good for 58% of their made baskets.
Game 2 was nothing short of a good old ass whooping. The Bucks made an important statement to the Hawks, but the onus is on them to keep the pressure going. Young and the rest of this young Atlanta team have proven to be fighters, but even they are going to be at least a little shellshocked after this defeat.
If the Bucks continue to play like this, it’s hard to see the Hawks even having a fighting shot at this series. Milwaukee have been inconsistent, though, so we’ll have to see if they keep it up in Game 3.
As it stands, this 125-91 victory was one hell of a statement. Check the highlights below in case you missed the game.