Giannis Posts 28 and 20 as Bucks Bounce Back in Game 2, Even Series with Magic

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 21, 2020

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) shoots against the Orlando Magic during the second half of Game 1 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kim Klement/Pool Photo via AP)
Kim Klement/Associated Press

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.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Don't get in Giannis' way 🤭 (via @NBATV) https://t.co/tq1DGekLVX

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.


Notable Performances

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:

Drew Beringer @drewberinger

Glad to see the Bucks engaged on defense again #FearTheDeer

Lance Allan @lanceallan

The @Bucks lead 64-43 at the half. The defense looks again like the statistical best in the NBA. @KyleKorver and @pconnaughton have been money. #Bucks

While the Magic missed some open shots, they didn't have many easy ones:

Milwaukee Bucks @Bucks



Pat Connaughton protects the rim! 📺: ESPN https://t.co/iCFaeT2IG4

Giannis also got plenty of help from his teammates after they were quiet on Tuesday:

Milwaukee Bucks @Bucks

That’s just beautiful basketball. https://t.co/TsmYA74Uzb


First half double-double for Giannis (12 PTS, 13 REB) and the @Bucks are on top 64-43 at the break of Game 2 on ESPN! #NBAPlayoffs Pat Connaughton: 12 PTS, 4 3PM Eric Bledsoe: 9 PTS, 3 AST https://t.co/30cW5lPnVi

Milwaukee Bucks @Bucks

Big Ragu jam!! https://t.co/yD81HAc3as

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.

Orlando Magic @OrlandoMagic

Vooch scores our first 10 points to start the 3rd. https://t.co/icI1vKmWap

Orlando Magic @OrlandoMagic

.@NikolaVucevic has scored 𝟏𝟔 of his 𝟐𝟴 points in the 𝟑rd. https://t.co/oT9i9zoE1k

The rest of the team was quiet:

Joe Kepner @JKepnerWFTV

Vucevic is the only @OrlandoMagic player in double figures at halftime. The rest of the #Magic starters have combined for 16.

Matt Velazquez @Matt_Velazquez

Nikola Vucevic with 12 of his 24 points in the opening 4+ mins of the 3rd quarter, but he's still the only Orlando player doing much of anything. Milwaukee timeout leading, 76-58, with 7:44 left in the 3rd.

Chris Roth @rothchris

Outside of Vucevic, rest of #Magic are 8-40 FGs....woof. #Bucks need to step on throat now

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.


What's Next?

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.