Giannis Drops 35 as Bucks Cruise Past Magic 121-107 to Take 2-1 Series Lead

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 22, 2020

Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) reacts after dunking against the Orlando Magic during  Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo via AP)
Mike Ehrmann/Associated Press

The Milwaukee Bucks grabbed a 2-1 lead in their first-round series with a 121-107 win over the Orlando Magic in Game 3 on Saturday.

Giannis Antetokounmpo took over once again with a game-high 35 points, and the Bucks shot 56.1 percent from the field.

Milwaukee built a 27-point lead by halftime and went up 34 in the second half before a late charge by the Magic closed the gap. Each game has been decided by double digits.

D.J. Augustin and Terrence Ross played well off the bench for Orlando, but without a huge game from Nikola Vucevic, it was too short-handed to compete with Aaron Gordon and Michael Carter-Williams still unavailable because of injuries. James Ennis III was also ejected in the first half along with Milwaukee forward Marvin Williams.

After their surprising Game 1 win, the Magic simply haven't been able to keep up with the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.


Notable Performances

Giannis Antetokounmpo, PF, MIL: 35 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists

Khris Middleton, SF, MIL: 17 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists

Brook Lopez, C, MIL: 16 points, 6 rebounds

Nikola Vucevic, C, ORL: 20 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals

D.J. Augustin, PG, ORL: 24 points, 6 assists

Terrence Ross, SG, ORL: 20 points, 4-of-7 from three


Unstoppable Giannis Carries Bucks to Easy Victory

We have come to expect big games out of Giannis, but he is rarely as efficient as he was Saturday.

The reigning MVP was flawless in the first half on his way to 21 points:


Giannis DOMINATES in the first half. #FearTheDeer #NBAPlayoffs 21 PTS | 5 REB | 4 AST | 8-8 FGM | 2-2 3PM https://t.co/otYuaXszge

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Giannis Antetokounmpo went 8-8 on FG in the 1st half. That ties his career high for FGA without a miss in any half (regular season or playoffs). Since losing Game 1, the Bucks have outscored the Magic by 42 points over the last 6 quarters. https://t.co/BVrProg27c

He scored his 35 points in 31 minutes on just 14 shots, missing just two of his field-goal attempts.

Milwaukee Bucks @Bucks

MVP in transition. https://t.co/zIRZfSbW6Z

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Don't get in Giannis' way 😧 https://t.co/9jIXpip4vx

This opened things up for the rest of his team, and the Bucks shot 63.6 percent from the field in the first half on the way to a 70-43 lead. They outscored the Magic 39-20 in the second quarter alone.

Khris Middleton also woke up after scoring just two points in Game 2, netting 17 points.

Milwaukee Bucks @Bucks

Keep shooting. https://t.co/9kLrWue0Im

Milwaukee Bucks @Bucks

Mid-range Midd. https://t.co/vWxz4t0OY4

Yaya Dubin @JADubin5

Welcome to the playoffs, Khris Middleton.

Milwaukee needs the All-Star to take pressure off Antetokounmpo, perhaps especially later in the playoffs if the team makes a deep run.

With eight different Bucks hitting three-point shots and the team shooting 17-of-37 (45.9 percent) from beyond the arc, the Magic had no chance.


D.J. Augustin, Terrence Ross Help Short-Handed Magic

Jonathan Isaac is out for the year, and Gordon and Carter-Williams have missed the series—and Orlando lost another starter early when Ennis was ejected alongside Williams:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

James Ennis and Marvin Williams got into it 😳 https://t.co/mHdXwjzDky

Bobby Marks @BobbyMarks42

Plain and simple. What a selfish play by James Ennis. Orlando was already undermanned and possibly lose Ennis now for G4.

Ennis had been a reliable option since the restart, but his actions left the Magic without yet another key player in the front court.

It put even more pressure on Vucevic, who scored the team's first seven points while continuing an incredible series:

Orlando Magic @OrlandoMagic

How good has @NikolaVucevic been this postseason?!?! #MagicPlayoffs | #WholeNewGame https://t.co/q70tMrjYiy

He struggled with his shot, however, finishing 8-of-19, and was held under 30 points for the first time this series.

Augustin and Ross did their best to keep the Magic alive, combining for 44 points off the bench.

Orlando Magic @OrlandoMagic

Fight to the finish. https://t.co/g3RIruo5rQ

Orlando Magic @OrlandoMagic

𝙛𝙡𝙤𝙖𝙩 𝙤𝙣 @TerrenceRoss | #MagicPlayoffs https://t.co/FzCTIdBPic

Orlando just lacks enough options to keep up with Milwaukee.


What's Next?

The teams will continue their afternoon matchups in Game 4, which is set for 1:30 p.m. ET Monday.