Bucks rout Raptors for 2-0 lead

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Antetokounmpo has 30 points, 17 rebounds as Milwaukee moves within two wins of NBA Finals

By TIM REYNOLDS

The Associated Press

MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo started the game with an emphatic dunk. The next possession, a sprawling block to deny Marc Gasol. The next possession, another dunk.

The tone was set.

And it never changed.

The Eastern Conference doesn’t belong to Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks — yet. But they’re two wins away, after Antetokounmpo had 30 points and 17 rebounds, Ersan Ilyasova came off the bench to add 17 points and the Bucks never trailed on the way to a 125-103 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Friday and a 2-0 lead in the East finals.

“He plays so hard, he lays it all on the line, every time,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “It was a great start for us. I think everybody fed off of Giannis and how he started the game.”

How he finished, too.

Antetokounmpo scored 11 points in the fourth for the Bucks, who wound up with six players in double figures — three of them reserves. Nikola Mirotic scored 15, Malcolm Brogdon had 14, George Hill 13 and Khris Middleton 12.

“We really rely on each other … especially the bench,” Ilyasova said. “The starting five set the tone.”

Kawhi Leonard scored 31 points for Toronto, which gave up the game’s first nine points, never led and trailed by double digits for the final 39 minutes. Kyle Lowry scored 15 and Norman Powell had 14 for the Raptors.

“We didn’t do much well tonight, obviously,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said.

Game 3 is Sunday in Toronto.

“We get to go back home and protect our home court, like they did these last two games,” Lowry said. “We’ve got a chance to go home, protect home court and do what we’re supposed to do.”

Milwaukee, an NBA-best 60-22 during the regular season, became the 16th team to start a postseason with at least 10 victories in its first 11 games. Only three teams — the 1989 Los Angeles Lakers, the 2001 Lakers and the 2017 Golden State Warriors — opened the playoffs 11-0.
The Bucks led by as many as 28, before Toronto did just enough chipping away to keep some semblance of hope.
Eventually, Antetokounmpo decided enough was enough.
With 5:51 left to play Antetokounmpo backed Leonard down on the block, spun back toward the center of the lane, scored while getting hit and starting a three-point play. He yelled to the crowd and punched the air. The knockout blow was landed, and the Bucks are two wins from their first NBA Finals berth in 45 years.
“At times, I forget that I have to stay aggressive,” Antetokounmpo said.
Not in that moment, he didn’t.
“Give them credit,” Raptors forward Pascal Siakam said. “They came with a lot of intensity.”
TORONTO (103)
Leonard 10-18 10-10 31, Siakam 4-9 0-0 8, M.Gasol 1-9 0-0 2, Lowry 4-13 5-8 15, Green 2-6 2-2 8, Powell 6-9 0-0 14, Miller 0-0 2-2 2, Boucher 2-3 0-1 5, Ibaka 4-9 0-2 8, Moreland 0-0 0-0 0, VanVleet 2-5 0-0 5, Lin 0-1 0-0 0, Meeks 2-5 0-0 5. Totals 37-87 19-25 103.
MILWAUKEE (125)
Mirotic 5-10 3-4 15, Antetokounmpo 10-20 9-12 30, Lopez 1-7 4-5 6, Bledsoe 3-10 1-2 8, Middleton 5-8 0-0 12, Ilyasova 7-11 1-2 17, Wilson 0-2 2-2 2, Frazier 0-0 0-0 0, Hill 5-8 2-2 13, Connaughton 1-3 1-2 3, Snell 0-0 0-0 0, Brown 1-3 2-2 5, Brogdon 5-10 1-2 14. Totals 43-92 26-35 125.
Toronto 21 18 39 25 — 103
Milwaukee 35 29 31 30 — 125
3-Point Goals–Toronto 10-32 (Powell 2-4, Green 2-4, Lowry 2-9, VanVleet 1-1, Boucher 1-2, Meeks 1-2, Leonard 1-4, Ibaka 0-2, Siakam 0-2, M.Gasol 0-2), Milwaukee 13-41 (Brogdon 3-6, Middleton 2-3, Ilyasova 2-5, Mirotic 2-7, Brown 1-2, Hill 1-3, Antetokounmpo 1-4, Bledsoe 1-5, Connaughton 0-2, Lopez 0-4). Fouled Out–Siakam. Rebounds–Toronto 40 (Ibaka 10), Milwaukee 53 (Antetokounmpo 17). Assists–Toronto 19 (Lowry 4), Milwaukee 27 (Bledsoe 7). Total Fouls–Toronto 30, Milwaukee 26. A–17,570 (17,500).

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NBA PLAYOFFS

All times HST

CONFERENCE FINALS

Friday’s Result

Milwaukee 125, Toronto 103, Milwaukee leads series 2-0

Today’s Game

Golden State at Portland, 3 p.m. (ESPN), Golden State leads series 2-0

Sunday’s Game

Milwaukee at Toronto, 1 p.m. (TNT)