The Milwaukee Bucks ran away with Game 2 against the Toronto Raptors.

Milwaukee had to come from behind to win just days ago, opening the Eastern Conference finals with victory at Fiserv Forum. But this time around, there was no coming back — or even looking back — as the Bucks won 125-103 on Friday.

"I think mentally we were ready for this game," Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo said afterwards.

The team entered Game 1 after a week of rest and felt a little rusty, which certainly was not the case in Game 2.

The Bucks' winning efforts were led by MVP hopeful Antetokounmpo – who finished with 30 points and had some help from the usual, and new, bench players.

Antetokounmpo's talent was on full display both offensively and defensively, as he grabbed 17 rebounds and recorded two blocks.

The Raptors looked to just two players for the bulk of their points — Kawhi Leonard (31) and Kyle Lowry (15) — and had little help elsewhere.

Milwaukee had an early advantage they would never relinquish and claimed a 2-0 series advantage as the teams prepare for Game 3 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.

Here are three takeaways from the Bucks' Game 2 win

 

There was absolutely no stopping Bucks

Milwaukee led from the opening minutes when they went on a 9-0 run. Toronto knew they would need to weather the storm of a dominant first quarter, but it did not stop there.

The Bucks continued to build their lead and at the half, were up by 25 points. Milwaukee were beating the Raptors in every category, shooting better, grabbing rebounds and not making costly mistakes. It was a welcome performance after Game 1 when the Bucks shot 39.8 per cent from the field and just 25 per cent from three-point range.

In Game 2, Milwaukee finished 46.7 per cent (43 of 92) from the field and 31.7 per cent (13 of 41) from long distance.

Unlike the first game, where the Bucks had to come from behind to win with Antetokounmpo having an off night, they easily took this on their home court.

 

Bucks bench continue to help lift team

In Game 1, Malcolm Brogdon finished with 15 points off the bench. Brogdon was again a key role player as he netted 14 points on Friday but this time, he was joined by another Buck.

Ersan Ilyasova had an impressive outing with 17 points. It was his second-best game in the 2018-19 season, behind a 19-point performance in November.

The 32-year-old forward was the second-leading scorer for Milwaukee off seven-of-11 shooting and making two of his five three-point attempts. Still, he was not the only player to chip in off the bench.

George Hill also finished in double-digits (13 points) and three more players had at least two. 

 

It's becoming more clear: Raptors can't beat Bucks

Toronto needed more than Leonard if they wanted a chance against Milwaukee on Friday. Leonard, who played the one-man band, did not get that help and if the Raptors want to stay in this series, they will need to find help. Soon.

Pascal Siakam, the team's second-leading scorer, had just eight points and fouled out with a little more than four minutes remaining.

When Leonard and Lowry did finally get rest, Toronto's bench did not do much. Norman Powell chipped in 14 points while Serge Ibaka, who was primed to have a big night, had just eight.

Leonard, Lowry and Powell were the only players to score 10 or more points and that just will not cut it against the Antetokounmpo-led Bucks.

The Boston Celtics' NBA season has come to an end after the Milwaukee Bucks reached the Eastern Conference finals.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks sealed a 4-1 series victory thanks to Wednesday's 116-91 win in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee took control before half-time, pulled away in the third quarter and cruised into the next round of the playoffs from there at Fiserv Forum.

Star and MVP candidate Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, while Eric Bledsoe chipped in 18 points.

The Celtics swept the Indiana Pacers in the first round and appeared like they would make the series against top-seeded Milwaukee competitive after they won the opener in convincing fashion.

But, Boston failed to replicate that success and dropped the next four as they were eliminated.

Here are three takeaways from Boston's Game 5 loss:

 

Celtics shooting very, very poor

Boston's shooting was absolutely abysmal in Game 5.

There was one stretch in the second quarter where the Celtics could not buy a basket as Milwaukee built a double-digit lead. Marcus Smart, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward all missed relatively open three-pointers during the run.

The Celtics' offense never improved as they shot 31.5 per cent from the field and hit on just seven of their 39 attempts from long range. Boston had no chance to win shooting that way.

 

Irving never found rhythm

The Celtics guard did not play like a star in this series.

Irving never really found his rhythm offensively, especially in the Celtics' four straight losses. He managed to stuff the scoresheet but was inconsistent and struggled to create for himself and others.

He finished with 15 points on six-of-21 shooting in Game 5. Irving forced multiple tough shots and did not look for his team-mates, as he tallied only a single assist.

Irving can opt out of his contract and become a free agent this offseason. This could have been his last game for Boston amid links with the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets. 

 

Bucks bench makes impact again

The Bucks received contributions from multiple players off the bench throughout the series and that did not change midweek.

George Hill scored 16 points in 21 minutes, Ersan Ilyasova was four of six from the field while Pat Connaughton kept Boston off the glass and grabbed 11 rebounds. Malcolm Brogdon also returned from a foot injury and added 10 points.

The Bucks' reserves allowed head coach Mike Budenholzer to reduce the workload on his stars at various points throughout the matchup with Boston, which could be crucial moving forward.

Milwaukee will face the winner of the series between the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference finals.

The Milwaukee Bucks traded guard Matthew Dellavedova, John Henson and two draft picks to the Cleveland Cavaliers for veteran guard George Hill.

Cleveland announced the deal Friday as Dellavedova returned to Quicken Loans Arena, where the Australian helped the Cavs win the 2016 NBA Finals.

The original trade included Cleveland forward Sam Dekker, but he has been rerouted to the Washington Wizards.

The Wizards will take Dekker for a second-round draft pick, while the Cavs will also send a 2021 second-round pick for a 2022 second-round pick.

The Cavaliers will receive future first-and second-round picks in 2021 from the Bucks.

Hill has a year and a half remaining on the three-year, $57million deal he signed with the Utah Jazz in 2017.

The 32-year-old was dealt to the Cavaliers at the trade deadline last season.

Cleveland have been looking to trade players this year after a slow start to their season. They dealt forward Kyle Korver to Utah last week.

Hill is averaging 10.8 points and 2.8 assists this season. Dekker is averaging 6.3 points and 3.7 rebounds.

Dellavedova is scoring 1.7 points and 2.4 assists. Henson is averaging 5.6 points and 5.1 rebounds, but he has not played since November 14.

Paul Pierce does not think highly of the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers.

Cleveland dropped to 1-10 to start the season when they fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder 95-86 on Wednesday.

Pierce, the former Boston Celtics star who is now an NBA analyst for ESPN, said he believes the Cavaliers would fall to a college team if they played a game.

"Y'all see that Duke game?" Pierce asked during a segment on NBA After the Buzzer.

"They could beat Cleveland. You heard it here first."

Duke’s roster is led by four of the top freshmen in their recruiting class, including stars RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson. In their first game, the number four Blue Devils dominated number two Kentucky and cruised to an easy 118-84 win.

Barrett tallied 33 points in that game while Williamson chipped in 28.

Meanwhile, the Cavaliers have lost four straight games since they picked up their first win against the Atlanta Hawks on October 30.

They have already fired coach Tyronn Lue and have been playing without star forward Kevin Love, who is expected to miss at least another five weeks after undergoing toe surgery.

Cleveland point guard George Hill will also be out for at least a week with a right shoulder sprain, the team announced on Thursday.

Pierce made 10 All-Star teams and won the 2008 NBA championship while with the Celtics.

He also played for the Brooklyn Nets, Washington Wizards and Los Angeles Clippers during his 19-year career.

Paul Pierce does not think highly of the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers.

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