After dropping a 112-90 decision to the fourth-seeded Celtics on Sunday, the top-ranked Bucks rebounded in a big way with a very convincing 123-102 triumph in Game 2 on Tuesday.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way for Milwaukee with 29 points while also securing 10 rebounds. As a team, the Bucks shot 42.6 percent from beyond the arc and Khris Middleton knocked down seven 3s en route to a 28-point effort. Five different Bucks finished in double figures with Eric Bledsoe also adding 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting.
The Bucks really put the game away in the second half when they went on a 28-2 run that led into the fourth quarter. Milwaukee ended up outscoring Boston 39-18 in the third quarter to really put the contest out of reach.
The Celtics saw All-Star guard Kyrie Irving struggle mightily throughout the night as he finished with just nine points on 4-of-18 shooting. As a team, Boston also struggled on the offensive end as it only connected on 39.5 percent of its shots from the field.
Bucks excel from beyond the arc
In Game 1, Milwaukee struggled shooting the basketball from deep as it only made 13 of their 39 attempts the loss. However, the script was completely flipped in Game 2.
The Bucks finished Tuesday night shooting 42.6 percent (20-of-47) from long-range and had five different players knock down multiple 3s on the night. Khris Middleton really paced the team with a 7-of-10 shooting clip from beyond the arc. If it wasn't for the contest being a blowout, Middleton could've been within earshot of Klay Thompson's NBA playoff record of 11 made 3s in a game.
If the Bucks get anywhere close to this type of production from the perimeter throughout the series, it's definitely likely that they could be on the winning side.
Bucks showcase their depth
Milwaukee made a change to its starting lineup prior to Game 2 in an effort to boost the perimeter shooting.
Sterling Brown had previously been in the starting five, but coach Mike Budenholzer elected to insert Nikola Mirotic on Tuesday. Mirotic was one of the most talked-about acquisitions at the trade deadline as he was viewed as a 3-point threat that could really help Milwaukee. Mirotic only finished with nine points on 3-of-10 shooting, but did attempt five treys throughout Game 2.
Even with Mirotic not offering a whole lot of perimeter punch, George Hill also continued to be very efficient off the bench. Hill added 10 points on 3-of-6 shooting, which provided a nice lift when Eric Bledsoe was off the floor.
Irving struggles mightily
The Celtics were forced to play out the duration of the 2018 postseason without Kyrie Irving, and while Terry Rozier did a serviceable job, Boston could've used Irving in the Eastern Conference finals.
Irving was nearly invisible on the floor in Game 2 as he finished with just nine points and missed 14 of his 18 field-goal attempts. The Celtics All-Star guard also turned the ball over on three different occasions. Irving is obviously capable of being the best player on the court, and even when he's not scoring, he can still be a fantastic facilitator. Irving only tallied four assists when it was all said and done on Tuesday.
Irving certainly is going to need to get back on track after a forgettable outing. The star guard did have a stellar performance in Game 1 as he scored 26 points and dished out 11 assists. The Celtics will be looking for more of that in Game 3.
How to watch Game 3
- Date: Friday, May 3
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
- Location: TD Garden -- Boston
- TV channel: TNT
- Live stats: GameTracker
- Online streaming: fuboTV (try it for free)
- Odds: N/A