Two days after getting outplayed and embarrassed in Game 1 of their playoff series against Orlando, the Milwaukee Bucks bounced back with a 111-96 win Thursday night in the NBA bubble.
Giannis Antetokounmpo became just the second player in team history to have at least 20 points and 20 rebounds in a playoff game, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who did it 18 times with the Bucks. Antetokounmpo finished with 28 points, 20 rebounds and five assists to help Milwaukee tie the series 1-1.
The bench mob came up big, too, as Pat Connaughton went off from the outside. The guard went 5-for-8 on 3-pointers, scoring 15 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Donte DiVincenzo chipped in 11 points, while Kyle Korver had nine points. George Hill was solid again and Milwaukee was +11 with him in the game.
In Game 1, the Bucks allowed Orlando to shoot nearly 50-percent from the field. But they got back to their defensive ways Thursday, allowing the Magic to hit just 34.8 percent of their shots overall and only 21.2 percent from beyond the arc. Orlando scored just 13 points in the first quarter after scoring at least 29 in every quarter in the first game. It allowed Milwaukee to lead by 21 at the half.
Things tightened up in the fourth quarter, with Orlando getting the lead all the way down to nine before Antetokounmpo finished a dunk and Brook Lopez hit a 3-pointer to essentially put the game away. Lopez finished with 20 points, including going 4-for-8 on 3-pointers.
The Magic got another big night from Nikola Vucevic. He scored 32 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. The center has now scored 67 points through the first two games of the series. However, he was the only Orlando player to score more than 12 points on the night.
One concern for Milwaukee has to be Khris Middleton. The two-time All-Star scored a season-low two points on 1-of-8 shooting. He’s now 5-for-20 in the series.
The Bucks will look to take control of the series on Saturday in Game 3. Tip is set for noon.