The Milwaukee Bucks showed last night how ruthless they could be. The amount of domination they put upon the Toronto Raptors, who by the way are one of the best NBA teams, was simply amazing. Guys from Canada didn’t have a single chance to at least once tie the score in this event.
“They came with a lot of intensity,” said Pascal Siakam about how he saw Milwaukee in this event.
It was 7-0 for the hosts after 2 1/2 minutes, and that only grew bigger as the game progressed. At the end of the opening period, Milwaukee was up 14 points, 35-21.
And they weren’t about to stop.
Giannis was all over the court. Whether was that because he saw the latest news in which James Harden, Paul George and himself are announced finalists for the MVP award, or because of something else, the Greek Freak was pumped up last night. According to his words, the MVP talk wasn’t what moved him.
“To be honest with you I don’t care about that right now. I care about going to Toronto and focusing on Game 3.”
With 30 points and 17 boards, he led the Bucks on the court. And not just that. Giannis was the guys who fired up Fiserv Forum, with two dunks and a block on Marc Gasol in the opening minutes of the game.
He would later continue to dismantle the No.2 team in the East, often flexing muscles and screaming after dunks. Coach Budenholzer, a finalist for the Coach of the Year award, stated that Giannis’ energy was the reason why the entire team played like possessed in the first half.
“I think everybody fed off of Giannis and how he started the game.”
Until the break, the Bucks already created a massive gap, 64-39, and could enter the second half a bit relaxed.
The guests tried to come back, and had a period in which they played well, but that was only until the hosts woke up and started pounding again. In the end, the Bucks would have six players with a double-digit number of points. Ersan Ilyasova scored 17, Mirotic 15, Malcolm Brogdon 14, Hill 13, and Middleton 12.
A perfect display of Mike Budenholzer’s basketball.
On the other side, the Raptors were helpless. We haven’t seen this team in such a situation during this season. They couldn’t do anything on the floor, and except for Leonard who tried to show some resistance, Toronto was looking like a busted army.
“We just missed them early,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “We were just a step too slow on just about everything.”
Once again the Raptors had problems with controlling the glass. After being outrebounded in Game 1, 60-46, they once again allowed Milwaukee to be dominant in the air, 53-40.
The series is now heading for Canada, where Toronto feels more comfortable. Only they are in a “no mistake territory” now, as they have to win both games at Scotiabank Arena. Otherwise, the end of the playoff run is near. A tough situation for the Raptors, no doubt at all.
But for Kawhi Leonard who dropped 31 and had 8 boards in Game 2, this is what the playoffs are all about. Overcoming the adversities.
“If we wanna do anything or be a championship team we’ve gotta play through the adversity. It’s our challenge now to come home for Game 3 and try to get a win.”
In order to do so, he will have to receive some help. After being excellent in Game 1, Kyle Lowry was slowed down tonight. It was mostly because he had four fouls already in the first halftime. Raptors’ playmaker scored 15 points and was pretty upset with some calls.
Pascal Siakam, the finalist for the Most Improved Players of the Year award, was nowhere near the expected level – 8 points and one rebound in 26 minutes. He too entered foul trouble early on.
“I’ve gotta be smarter,” Siakam said, “I’m gonna continue to learn, get better, watch film and make sure I’m better next game.”
The Bucks are pumped up and are ready for another quick series. And to be honest, everybody is expecting that the way this crew plays. Still, Budenholzer rules out such expectations, saying that his boys will have periods of struggle.
“We’re gonna lose some games, and we’re gonna keep doing what we’ve been doing all year,” he said, adding that his team knows how to play now, and that they learned how to handle various situations.
Game 3 is this Sunday in Toronto.