Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 25 points, Jrue Holiday added 22 and the Milwaukee Bucks blew out the Atlanta Hawks 125-91 on Friday night to even the Eastern Conference finals at a game apiece.
The Bucks never trailed, scored 20 straight points late in the second quarter and led by at least 30 throughout the second half. Both teams rested their starters for the entire fourth quarter.
“We came in focused on each possession at a time in Game 2, and we were able to do it together as a team,” Antetokounmpo said.
Atlanta’s Trae Young struggled for much of the night after finishing with 48 points and 11 assists in the Hawks’ 116-113 Game 1 victory. Young scored 15 points but matched a career worst with nine turnovers before leaving the game for good with 3:48 remaining in the third quarter.
This marks the third straight series in which the Hawks lost Game 2 after winning Game 1 on the road. Those Game 2 losses have been decided by a total of 59 points.
The series shifts to Atlanta for Game 3 on Sunday.
“We got one,” Hawks coach Nate McMillan said. “We’re happy with that. But there’s another level we have to get to in order to win games and advance. That intensity they came out with wasn’t a surprise to us. They just totally dominated the entire game.”
Brook Lopez scored 16 points for the Bucks, while Khris Middleton had 15 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Antetokounmpo had nine rebounds and six assists.
Danilo Gallinari had 12 points and John Collins and Cam Reddish each added 11 for the Hawks.
Milwaukee was intent on making life difficult for Young two nights after the Bucks blew a seven-point lead in the final four minutes of Game 1. Young’s Game 1 performance had made him the first player ever with at least 45 points and 10 assists in a conference finals game.
Young committed eight turnovers in the first half alone. He shot 6 of 16 overall and 1 of 8 from 3-point range.
“We needed everybody to be more active,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “The guys, they were great.”
Milwaukee pulled ahead in the opening minutes as Antetokounmpo continually got to the rim for easy baskets. The Bucks already owned a double-digit lead before going on a 20-0 run late in the second quarter to break open the game.
Holiday scored nine points in the spurt and capped the run with a 3-pointer and layup. Lopez added seven points during that stretch.
The Bucks led 77-45 after a first half in which they shot 64.6% and capitalized on 13 Hawks turnovers, including eight from Young.
Mavericks hire Jason Kidd
After teaming with Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas to win the 2011 NBA title, Jason Kidd will return to the Mavericks as coach, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.
The 48-year-old Kidd, who spent the last two seasons as a Los Angeles Lakers assistant, has agreed to replace Rick Carlisle as coach of the Mavericks, marking his third stint as a head coach. Longtime Nike executive Nico Harrison has agreed to join the Mavericks as general manager, replacing Donnie Nelson, who departed earlier this month after 24 years amid an internal power struggle. Both agreements, which were first reported by The Athletic and ESPN, signal Luka Doncic’s growing influence in the Mavericks organization.
Doncic, 22, openly clashed at times with Carlisle this season, and Kidd arrives with experience as a Hall of Fame point guard and stints working with LeBron James in Los Angeles and Giannis Antetokounmpo on the Milwaukee Bucks. Meanwhile, Doncic, a prominent Jordan Brand athlete, has a relationship with Harrison, who has never previously led an NBA front office. Doncic is eligible for, and widely expected to sign a five-year, $201 million rookie contract extension this summer.
Kidd arrives in Dallas with a 183-190 (.491) career coaching record, having spent the 2013-14 season with the Brooklyn Nets, having guided the Bucks for four seasons from 2014 to 2018 and having won a 2020 championship ring with the Lakers as part of Frank Vogel’s staff. The move marks a homecoming of sorts for Kidd, who was drafted by the Mavericks in 1994 and spent four-plus seasons with the franchise late in his career, earning all-star honors in 2010 and starting at point guard on the 2011 title team.