MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo opened the scoring in Game 2 with a pair of powerful two-handed dunks.
It was a metaphor. It was foreshadowing.
The Milwaukee Bucks dunked all over the Toronto Raptors with a dominating start-to-finish 125-103 victory on Friday, taking a 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference finals.
"It definitely set the tone," Antetokounmpo said. "That’s what I tried to do. I know every night when the game starts, my teammates are looking at me as the leader of the team."
On the day Antetokounmpo was named a finalist for regular-season MVP, he produced an MVP performance with 30 points, 17 rebounds, five assists, two blocks and one steal.
"Obviously we weren't nearly as good on Giannis tonight," Nurse said. "He was in the paint with a little too much force more than we'd like."
And it wasn’t even a signature game from Antetokounmpo.
"He's incredible, and then you're like, 'I think he can be even better,' " Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. "The great part about Giannis is he wants to be better. We're coaching him and we're on him. We think he can be doing more, and he just soaks it up. It's just so unique to have a player like that, that just wants to be great and you feel like has more, and yet he's been phenomenal."
But Milwaukee’s victory was more than just Antetokounmpo, and that’s what makes Milwaukee difficult to defend. Brook Lopez didn’t replicate his effort from Game 1, and Eric Bledsoe was scoreless in the first half.
But five other players scored in double figures. Ersan Ilyasova had 17, Nikola Mirotic 15, Malcolm Brogdon 14, George Hill 13 and Khris Middleton 12. The scoring came in all directions from all areas of the floor.
The Bucks spread the ball and the scoring.
"We want guys that are basketball players that have high IQs that can do, like you said, dribble, pass, shoot, can make reads, make decisions," Budenholzer said. "We try to develop them. We try and empower them. We try to play a way where they all feel like they can contribute and do things. Hopefully that's paying off for us, and guys appreciate it. I think they grow and develop here."
The Bucks have solutions. The Raptors don’t have answers.
Follow Jeff Zillgitt on Twitter @JeffZillgitt.
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