After letting Game 1 of the series slip away, the Raptors had a chance to pick up a win on Friday night before heading back to Toronto.
The Raptors, though, didn’t show up.
The Milwaukee Bucks cruised to a dominant 125-103 win in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals on Friday at Fiserv Forum, leading the entire way en route to the 2-0 series lead.
“I think mentally we were ready for this game,” said Giannis Antetokounmpo, who finished with a double-double with 30 points and 17 rebounds. “I think once the game started, we did a great job setting the tone. We just wanted to protect home. We knew that the Raptors were going to come and try to play hard and try to get one at our place, but we just wanted this game.”
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 18, 2019
The Bucks took off quick in the first quarter, flying ahead to an 18-point lead behind nine quick points from Nikola Mirotic and a big 12-0 run near the end of the period.
Toronto had no answer for the Bucks in the second quarter, either, and seemingly let Milwaukee run away with it before the break. Limiting the Raptors to just 18 points and no field goal in the final four minutes of the second quarter, the Bucks flew ahead to a 25-point lead at the break. As a team, Milwaukee put up 31 points off the bench — thanks to 15 from Ersan Ilyasova and 12 from Malcolm Brogdon, both of whom scored more each than any Toronto player. The Raptors, on the other hand, had just 11.
While they cut it to just 13 points briefly in the third, Milwaukee’s lead was simply too big for the Raptors to overcome. The Bucks held on in the fourth quarter and cruised to the 22-point win, never letting the Raptors lead throughout the game.
“We just missed them early,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “We were just a step too slow on just about everything. I talked about before the game how important shot contesting was, and I just didn’t think we settled in with some space and gave them confidence early. You just can’t do that.
“We didn’t do either thing very well tonight. We didn’t do much well tonight, obviously the way the game went.”
“We didn’t do much well tonight.”
— NBA TV (@NBATV) May 18, 2019
Ilyasova finished with 17 points off the bench for the Bucks, having shot 7-of-11 from the field. Mirotich finished with 15 points, and Brogdon added 14 points. The win marked Milwaukee’s sixth-straight playoff win and its sixth playoff win by at least 20 points this postseason, which tied an NBA record.
Kawhi Leonard led the Raptors with 31 points and eight rebounds, marking his ninth game this postseason with at least 30 points. Kyle Lowry finished with 15 points, having shot just 4-of-13 from the field, and Norman Powell added 14 points off the bench. They were the only three players for Toronto to score in double figures.
Game 3 of the series is scheduled for Sunday at Scotiabank Arena. And after their postseason success so far, Mike Budenholzer said he isn’t planning to tweak much at all heading into the game on Sunday in Toronto.
“We’re going to lose some games, and we’re going to keep doing what we’ve been doing all year,” Budenholzer said. “You can’t just base it on the results. Obviously tonight was a huge positive. The guys have learned a way to play. They believe in it. We believe in it. The more positive results you get, sure it reinforces it. It just lets them know that nothing is going to change. We’ll just continue that going into Game 3, win or lose, going into Game 4.”