– by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief
MILWAUKEE — Only vestiges of the form that led to a 60-win regular season for the Milwaukee Bucks came to the fore in an embarrassing series-opening loss on Sunday. In more ways than one, the Bucks were more like themselves in Game 2 just 48 hours later.
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 29 points while fellow All-Star Khris Middleton poured in 28 as the Bucks used a dominant middle two quarters to cruise to a 123-102 victory over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday at Fiserv Forum, tying the Eastern Conference semifinals series at 1-1.
Point guard Eric Bledsoe also scored 20 points as the Bucks, who finished second in the league in the regular season in three-pointers made, hit a franchise-record 20 triples in the contest to turn a competitive contest at halftime into a laugher toward the end of the contest.
“I think that’s more what we’re accustomed to seeing,” said Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer. “I liked our spirit, our activity, our competitiveness all up and down the roster. Giannis and Khris and Bled (Bledsoe) really set a tone.”
Antetokounmpo struggled in Game 1 with the Celtics’ team defense against him on his drives to the basket, scoring 22 points but having to take 21 shots — making only seven — while going just 5-of-10 from the foul line. The Greek Freak was a distributor more to start before establishing his game, finishing 7-of-16 from the field while taking 18 free throws, making 13 from the charity stripe.