Loud. Rambunctious. Deafening. All of those words and more described the atmosphere at the Bradley Center to start things out. It would continue all night, in a decimating 104-77 win for the Milwaukee Bucks. Definitive. Destructive. Delightful. This was a game plucked from Bucks fans’ dreams.
The most amazing part is Giannis didn’t even have to contribute extensively, finishing with 19 points, eight rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks. Khris Middleton showed out again with 20 points and seven assists, Greg Monroe had 16 points and seven rebounds before fouling out, and Thon Maker reached 11 points. Milwaukee put together a hyper sharp 52.7% shooting night. Toronto shot just 33.8%, and I’ll spare you the rest of their horrendous statistics for fear of their putrid nature somehow infecting my computer.
The raucous environment immediately provided excitement out of the gates, as a Khris Middleton 3-pointer lit the match. From there, ball movement and slicing the Toronto defense paved the way for a magnificent opening 12 minutes.
Contested shots at the rim were the consistent theme early on for the Bucks defense. Every time Toronto worked the ball in the paint, one of Milwaukee’s long-armed aliens was there to distract it. It clearly looked as if it was frustrating the Raps early on, but it never took them too much out of things.
A Giannis 3-pointer provided the Bucks with their first double-digit lead on the night and it seemed as if that flustered the Raptors — they had some silly mistakes on consecutive possessions (a shot clock violation followed by a DeRozan pass that went to nobody).
Then, a 9-0 Bucks run occurred. Highlighted by a scooping layup from Giannis, then four points from Delly, the place went bonkers. Once again, Toronto was cornered into taking a timeout — this time at the 2:31 mark of the first quarter and a 26-10 score. But that didn’t help much, as the Bucks continued to pour it on. A Michael Beasley 3-pointer that somehow rattled in pushed the lead to 20, and the first quarter ended with the good guys up 32-12.
A brief break as Gabe checks if his hearing is still intact...
Phew. Okay, I think I’m good — for now.
The second quarter picked up righhhttttt where things left off. The Bucks kept getting baskets. Once again, the Raptors were forced to take yet another timeout following a Dellavedova 3-pointer (this time with the Bucks up 25 and 9:20 remaining in the half). And it kept going. And going. And going. It was reminiscent of the start of Game 6 back in the 2001 Eastern Conference Finals (minus an unconscious Ray Allen), but you get the point. When the halftime whistle sounded, Milwaukee boasted a massive 57-30 lead.
Now, we’ve seen the Bucks hold gigantic halftime leads before. Unfortunately, we’ve seen them collapse and give those leads up. Thankfully, the Bucks didn’t seem to want that to happen tonight! They paced their 27 point halftime advantage well, constantly floating around the 30 point mark (wow, I can’t believe I just typed that!). At the end of the third, the Raptors HADN’T EVEN SCORED 50 POINTS.
From there, the Bucks just coasted to the finish in an absolute joy to watch! Oh, and Giannis gave a little treat to those of us still holding a grudge against Norman Powell for having the audacity to be decent after Milwaukee traded his rights:
Giannis blocked a shot with his elbow, nbd pic.twitter.com/L3wqy1qJlY— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) April 21, 2017
- In Game 2, Kidd opted to play Mirza Teletovic much longer than most fans wanted him to. This evening, his game plan was pretty simple. Beasley instead of Teletovic. And it definitely had major implications.
- Has that ball landed yet from Ibaka’s temper tantrum? Surprised it didn’t go through the roof after he slammed it to the court following a goaltending call...
- After a somewhat disappointing performance from the court on Tuesday, Giannis rebounded soundly. Sure, it wasn’t a show that made you stare at the stat sheet in disbelief, but he did what he needed to do — play with aggression. Thankfully, the Bucks were really never in a position where his stardom was heavily relied on.
- I am typing this in the second quarter. The score is really 48-17. UNREAL. (I had to update this THREE TIMES!)
- Coming into tonight, the Bucks have been dropping in baskets from beyond the arc at a clip of 43.5 percent. Those numbers continued tonight, with the Bucks sinking wellllll above that rate.
- A massive shoutout to the Bucks defense. To hold a team under 50 points IN THREE FREAKING QUARTERS is quite the accomplishment. Like, my goodness. I still cannot believe they locked them down that well.
- THAT THON DUNK!!! Yeah, the one in the opening minutes. I could feel my seat shaking from it. That man is so fun to watch play basketball.
- How crazy was that first half? Let’s just say that Matthew Dellavedova had more made field goals (a crisp 3-for-3) than DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry combined.
- In the first two games of the postseason, Tony Snell registered double-digit figures. He didn’t have his fingerprints over the stat sheet tonight much (just five points), but his presence was more than felt on the defensive end. “The Snalien” (thanks again to the great @SithLordAR for that one!) helps this team in areas that are so much deeper than the surface, and it’s proving to be massive during this playoff series.
- Last time these two teams were out on the floor, it seemed as if the roles of Spencer Hawes and Teletovic were flip-flopped. Mirza was the one driving to the basket, while Hawes stayed out on the perimeter and worked primarily from there. We didn’t have to really worry about that too much tonight, as neither of them received much action.
- I NEED TO GO TO A DOCTOR TO SEE IF I CAN STILL HEAR....that crowd was insane.