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Milwaukee vs. Atlanta ECF Game 2: Bucks Obliterate Hawks, 125-91

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This series is tied a game apiece heading to Atlanta

NBA: Playoffs-Atlanta Hawks at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

This series is all tied up. The Bucks would simply have no trouble with the Hawks this time around, putting together a massive all-around performance that gave them a 125-91 victory.

Atlanta would quickly pick up fouls early on in the first, with Milwaukee using those to take help catapult themselves in front to begin this one. The good news for the Bucks was that their shooting form from deep returned early on. In the first quarter, they’d go 7-of-12 from 3-point land, which helped them carry a 34-28 lead into the second quarter.

The second quarter proved to be some of the best basketball that the Bucks have played this postseason. Coming in with a six point advantage, they’d balloon that to a 32 point lead at half, 77-45. How? The Bucks would embark on a massive 20-0 run. Utilizing turnovers and making shots, along with strong play from Bobby Portis and Brook Lopez on the defensive end helped really spark the unit.

Milwaukee would continue to keep its foot on the pedal throughout the third quarter. Midway through the period, a majority of the starters were pulled, and for good reason. This game was over, as the Bucks were up by a massive amount of points throughout. Going into the fourth quarter, they led Atlanta, 103-63.

From that point on, it was just a matter of crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s. Both team’s reserves played the final quarter and the final touches were put on. When this one was finally done, Milwaukee walked out with a 125-91 victory.

Giannis Antetokounmpo would lead all scorers in this one, finishing with 25 points on 11-of-18 shooting. Jrue Holiday followed up his big Game 1 performance with another solid scoring outing, capping his performance with 22 points.

Trae Young once again led the Atlanta Hawks in scoring, but this time with a much lower amount of points. He’d tally just 15 points on the evening.

What Did We Learn?

We learned just what can happen when the Bucks make their shots. After shooing poorly from deep in the first game, Milwaukee did not replicate that performance. In the first quarter, they were able to immediately find their stroke. They’d end up shooting 36.6% from deep, compared to Atlanta’s 25% from the perimeter. They wouldn’t even shoot double-digits in that category (just nine made threes). This was a huge deciding factor in why the Bucks were able to win so decisively.

Three Observations

Giannis was on a tear.

Right from the opening tip, you could clear that Giannis was ready to turn the ship and swing momentum back in Milwaukee’s favor. He immediately put forth an insane level of aggressiveness, that assisted in the Bucks growing their lead. The main highlight from Antetokounmpo last night? This Michael Jordan-esque move:

I mean, the man was clearly on a mission. As a Bucks fan, this is the level of play you hope to see from Giannis game in and game out. He’ll look to build off this outing Sunday night in Atlanta for Game 3.

Brook Lopez made his presence felt throughout this game.

Due to his play on both ends of the floor, Brook Lopez had his fingerprints all over this one. He’d connect on a very crafty 6-of-8 shots from the floor and was absolutely everywhere in the first half. He’d connect on not one, not two, but several threes on the evening. It really seemed as if any time that Atlanta had an answer, Lopez had an even bigger one. On the defensive end, he was also frustrating the Hawks. With his ability to get blocks and impact shots overall, he can really tilt the momentum. Jrue Holiday really praised Lopez’s ability to do that in his postgame presser. Additionally, there were a few interactions with Trae Young where Lopez made things difficult for him. In the first half, he blocked his shot, then followed up by poking the ball out of Young’s hand. Then, to start the second half, Lopez was on Young out on the perimeter covering him one-on-one. It resulted in a shot clock violation. Lopez then attributed that to making life as difficult as possible for the opponent in his postgame presser. Just absolutely a massive performance from the big man.

It was clear that the Bucks made life difficult for Trae Young.

I’ll continue the point I was making above. Looking back at Game 1 and comparing it to Game 2, it was night and day. When asked about the differences, Jrue Holiday attributed the increase of aggressiveness they had. From Holiday’s own perspective, an increase in aggressiveness was something he wanted to improve on. In Holiday’s postgame presser, he mentioned how the Bucks were able to make life difficult for Young and didn’t give him any easy looks. They also mitigated the amounts of floaters he was able to get off, along preventing him from getting to the free throw line. All in all, the effort worked quite well, as Young only scored 15 points on the evening. Here’s what Trae Young had to say about adjustments:

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • Bobby Portis came in during the first half and immediately provided a spark for the Bucks. He’d provide eight points on 3-of-7 shooting, but it was clear how the intensity catapulted momentum towards Milwaukee’s favor. He’s also officially reached folk hero status in Milwaukee, as halfway through the fourth quarter, chants of “BOBBY! BOBBY! BOBBY!” filled Fiserv Forum. It ultimately ended up in the Bucks game ops putting his stat line on the jumbotron — while the actual game was still being played. The chants also then continued after the final whistle:
  • There were countless celebrity sightings at Fiserv Forum for this one. Russell Wilson and Ciara, Donald Driver, Chance the Rapper were just a few. Diehard Bucks fan Sheryl Crow also made an appearance, though there was no halftime performance from her. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed.
  • Although PJ Tucker didn’t score much (just one point), he was making his presence felt during this one. He’d tally seven rebounds, all of which were fought hard for, including some on the offensive glass. His capability and firepower to impact these games continues to be exemplified, even when he’s not scoring the basketball.
  • While Pat Connaughton did have some blunders, he was perfect from deep:
  • The city of Milwaukee is absolutely buzzing right now. Check out this shot from TMJ4 reporter Tony Atkins. The Deer District is absolutely BONKERS. Is there anything better than playoff basketball in Milwaukee?