Giannis Posts 28 and 20 as Bucks Bounce Back in Game 2, Even Series with MagicAugust 21, 2020
The Milwaukee Bucks bounced back from their Game 1 defeat with a 111-96 win over the Orlando Magic to even the first-round series at 1-1.
Giannis Antetokounmpo played at an MVP level with 28 points and 20 rebounds, preventing the No. 1 seed from falling down 2-0 in the series.
A top seed hasn't been eliminated in the first round of the NBA playoffs since 2012.
The Bucks were aggressive early in this one, building a double-digit lead in the first quarter before going up 21 points at halftime. The Magic chipped into the margin and got within single digits late in the fourth but failed to complete the comeback.
Milwaukee still couldn't contain Nikola Vucevic in Game 2 after the center dominated the opening win, but Orlando struggled offensively while shooting just 34.8 percent from the field. With Aaron Gordon still out with a hamstring issue and Jonathan Isaac unavailable after tearing his ACL, the lack of depth was apparent Thursday.
The Magic still haven't won two games in a postseason series since 2011 when Dwight Howard was on the roster.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, PF, MIL: 28 points, 20 rebounds, 5 assists
Pat Connaughton, SG, MIL: 15 points, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks
Brook Lopez, C, MIL: 20 points, 3 rebounds, 1 block
Nikola Vucevic, C, ORL: 32 points, 10 rebounds, 1 block
Terrence Ross, SG, ORL: 12 points, 1 block
Evan Fournier, SG, ORL: 12 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals
Bucks Defense Leads the Way in Impressive Victory
The Bucks excelled throughout the regular season because of their defense, which ranked No. 1 in the league in efficiency, per NBA.com.
It didn't look that way in Game 1 with 122 points allowed and Orlando shooting 16-of-41 from three-point range.
Milwaukee was certainly more focused in Game 2, holding the Bucks to just 1-of-16 from beyond the arc in the first half and 21.2 percent overall.
The team was dominant on that end from the opening tip:
While the Magic missed some open shots, they didn't have many easy ones:
Giannis also got plenty of help from his teammates after they were quiet on Tuesday:
The first game was scary for the Bucks, but this time they looked like a true NBA title contender.
Magic Can't Find Much Production Outside of Vucevic
Not only was Nikola Vucevic a star in Game 1, he was also one of six Magic players in double figures. There wasn't nearly as much help in Game 2.
The center still did his job, finishing with 32 points and 10 rebounds.
The rest of the team was quiet:
Playing without Gordon and Michael Carter-Williams made things even tougher for the Magic, who would be facing an uphill battle with them. It's left the squad without three of its top nine scorers.
D.J. Augustin scored 10 points but was 0-of-5 from the field, while Markelle Fultz (11 points) and James Ennis III (eight points) were also relatively quiet. Each of these players will need to come through with bigger showings in Game 3 and beyond.
There is no shift in location like there would be in a normal series, but an important Game 3 will take place Saturday at 1 p.m. ET.