Giannis Antetokounmpo, knocked onto his back by another Heat cheap shot, watched teammate Bobby Portis push away a hovering Nemanja Bjelica. Players clustered on alert for a skirmish. Antetokounmpo got up and snuck away from the crowd with the basketball. He then showed off his soccer skills, dribbling the ball downcourt with his feet.
It was all fun and games for the Bucks by that point.
Milwaukee tied an NBA playoff record by outscoring Miami by 26 in the first quarter then cruised to a 132-98 win in Game 2 Monday. The Bucks lead the first-round series 2-0 entering Game 3 Thursday.
Teams that won the first two games of a best-of-seven series at home have won the series 94% of the time.
Milwaukee was one of the exceptions, going up 2-0 then dropping four straight to the Raptors in the 2019 Eastern Conference finals. The Bucks also had so much trouble with the Heat just last year.
But this was such a thoroughly convincing result.
Antetokounmpo had 31 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, three steals and a block in just 31 minutes.
The Bucks jumped ahead with smothering defense and blistering outside shooting. Nobody was hotter than Bryn Forbes, who finished with 22 points on 6-of-9 3-point shooting.
Khris Middleton scored 17 points on five shots. Jrue Holiday dished 15 assists.
Milwaukee’s 26-point lead after the first quarter tied the NBA record for a playoff game. In 1970, the Bucks led the 76ers 40-14 after the first quarter of a postseason game.
Though the Heat never got closer than 19 in the second quarter and 25 in the second half tonight, they still showed aggression
In the third quarter, Trevor Ariza flagrantly fouled Antetokounmpo on a layup, dragging the Milwaukee star to the floor. More egregious: As Antetokounmpo lay on his back with Ariza over him, Ariza planted his hands into Antetokounmpo’s chest and legs to push himself up.
Antetokounmpo, who made the layup, appeared notably calm despite the dirty move:
Goran Dragic got a technical foul for tripping Middleton with a leglock. Kendrick Nunn got a flagrant foul for stepping under Middleton on a jumper.
Actually competing with the Bucks in basketball? After a close Game 1, that looks even more elusive for Miami.
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Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks get a kick out of trouncing Heat in Game 2 originally appeared on NBCSports.com