NBA

Bucks blowout Hawks to even up Eastern Conference Finals series at 1-1

Jun 25, 2021, 8:33 PM | Updated: 8:41 pm
Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo shoots over Atlanta Hawks' Clint Capela during the second ha...
Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo shoots over Atlanta Hawks' Clint Capela during the second half of Game 2 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals game Friday, June 25, 2021, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 25 points, Jrue Holiday added 22 and the Milwaukee Bucks blew out the Atlanta Hawks 125-91 on Friday night to even the Eastern Conference finals at a game apiece.

The Bucks never trailed, scored 20 straight points late in the second quarter and led by at least 30 throughout the second half. Both teams rested their starters for the entire fourth quarter.

“We came in focused on each possession at a time in Game 2, and we were able to do it together as a team,” Antetokounmpo said.

Atlanta’s Trae Young struggled for much of the night after finishing with 48 points and 11 assists in the Hawks’ 116-113 Game 1 victory. Young scored 15 points but matched a career-worst with nine turnovers before leaving the game for good with 3:48 remaining in the third quarter.

This marks the third straight series in which the Hawks lost Game 2 after winning Game 1 on the road. Those Game 2 losses have been decided by a total of 59 points.

The series shifts to Atlanta for Game 3 on Sunday.

“We got one,” Hawks coach Nate McMillan said. “We’re happy with that. But there’s another level we have to get to in order to win games and advance. That intensity they came out with wasn’t a surprise to us. They just totally dominated the entire game.”

Brook Lopez scored 16 points for the Bucks, while Khris Middleton had 15 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Antetokounmpo had nine rebounds and six assists.

Danilo Gallinari had 12 points and John Collins and Cam Reddish each added 11 for the Hawks.

Milwaukee was intent on making life difficult for Young two nights after the Bucks blew a seven-point lead in the final four minutes of Game 1. Young’s Game 1 performance had made him the first player ever with at least 45 points and 10 assists in a conference finals game.

Young committed eight turnovers in the first half alone. He shot 6 of 16 overall and 1 of 8 from 3-point range.

“We needed everybody to be more active,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “The guys, they were great.”

Milwaukee pulled ahead in the opening minutes as Antetokounmpo continually got to the rim for easy baskets. The Bucks already owned a double-digit lead before going on a 20-0 run late in the second quarter to break open the game.

Holiday scored nine points in the spurt and capped the run with a 3-pointer and layup. Lopez added seven points during that stretch.

The Bucks led 77-45 after a first half in which they shot 64.6% and capitalized on 13 Hawks turnovers, including eight from Young.

TIP-INS

Hawks’ Reddish played 17 minutes in his first game action since Feb. 21 due to an Achilles tendon injury.

— Young had at least 20 points and seven assists in each of the Hawks’ 13 playoff games before Friday. He’s the first player ever to have at least 20 points and seven assists in each of his first 13 career playoff games.

— Reserve forward Nathan Knight went to the locker room midway through the fourth quarter. Knight had landed on his back after blocking a shot.

The Bucks shot 52.1%, the first time they’ve shot over 50% in this postseason.

— Antetokounmpo’s early exit due to the lopsided score resulted in the end of his franchise-record string of six straight games in which he had at least 30 points and 10 rebounds. The last player to collect at least 30 points and 10 rebounds in six straight playoff games was Shaquille O’Neal in 2002.

— The Bucks improved to 12-3 in playoff games at Fiserv Forum.

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