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MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – JUNE 25: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks goes up for a shot against Clint Capela #15 of the Atlanta Hawks during the second half in game two of the Eastern Conference Finals at Fiserv Forum on June 25, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo : Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
The Milwaukee Bucks evened their series with the Atlanta Hawks after a resounding 125-91 victory in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Four players scored in double-figures for the Bucks who now head to Atlanta for Game 3 with the series tied at one game apiece.
Leading the way for Milwaukee in this massacre was Giannis Antetokounmpo. He scored 25 points, grabbed nine rebounds and six assists in just 29 minutes of action. Jrue Holiday continued his fine form in this series, adding 22 points, two rebounds and seven assists in 32 minutes of play.
Brook Lopez bounced back from his woeful Game 1 performance, scoring 16 points on 6 of 8 shooting from the field. He was a deep threat in this ballgame, burying three of his five attempts from beyond the arc. Khris Middleton also had a much better showing in Game 2, registering the highest +/- among Bucks players with a +42 clip. He finished the game with 15 points, seven rebounds and eight assists.
Bucks’ first-half blitz downs Hawks
The Bucks made their presence felt in the first half, building a comprehensive 77-45 lead at the break. Milwaukee’s 32-point lead after two quarters was the second-largest halftime advantage in a conference or division finals game in the history of the NBA. Milwaukee went on a back-breaking 20-0 run in the second quarter to pull away from Atlanta.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday proved to be the difference in the opening half, making solid plays on both ends of the floor. Antetokounmpo had 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists in the game’s first 24 minutes while Jrue Holiday added 19 points of his own.
It was Holiday’s play on the defensive end that took plaudits as he shut down Atlanta guard Trae Young. He guarded Young on 29 of 47 plays and managed to contain the All-Star guard, limiting the 22-year-old to just 2-of-8 shooting from the field. Young committed eight first-half turnovers, the most in any half of his career. Turnovers proved to be the downfall for Atlanta in the opening half, committing 13 errors during that period.
The Bucks took full advantage of Atlanta’s mistakes, scoring 22 points off those turnovers in the first half. The Bucks did damage inside the paint and also beyond the arc. They scored 38 points inside the shaded area and shot 10 of 19 from the three-point area in the first half.
Young needs to bounce back in Game 3
The Bucks continued their dominance in the second half, stretching their lead to 40 points at the end of the third quarter. Milwaukee’s lead was so huge that both teams didn’t play their starters in the final quarter, opting to give some playing time instead to their bench players.
Even with the heavy defeat, the Hawks will still be satisfied, leaving Milwaukee with a split after handing the Bucks their first home defeat of the postseason in Game 1. That being said, the Hawks will need to play much better in Game 3 if they are to protect their homecourt advantage.
It all starts with Trae Young, the heart and soul of this Atlanta team. He struggled mightily in Game 2, finishing with just 15 points, two rebounds and three assists, shooting just 1 of 9 from beyond the arc.
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