After suffering an embarrassing game one defeat on Tuesday, the Milwaukee Bucks rebounded with a 111-96 win over the Orlando Magic to even their best-of-seven opening round series at a game apiece.
After failing to find their way defensively for most of the eight seeding games and the game one playoff loss, the Bucks became the aggressor, holding the Magic to just 13 first quarter points.
The Bucks offense was a little slow to start, but their defensive play allowed them to warm up and maintain a lead while doing so.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 28 points and 20 rebounds to lead the way. Brook Lopez added 20 points and Pat Connaughton came through with a strong effort off the bench, scoring 15 points and adding 11 rebounds. All 15 points came on three-pointers for Connaughton.
The Magic made a push in the third when Nikola Vucevic made all six of his shots in the quarter, on the way to a 32-point, 10 rebound night. Orlando cut the Bucks lead to 12 before the Bucks responded and widened the gap.
Orlando once again cut into the Bucks lead, making it a single-digit game late in the fourth quarter. But the Bucks responded with a couple of Giannis Antetokounmpo dunks and then a pair of Brook Lopez three’s to seal the victory.
Bucks forward Khris Middleton struggled in the opener and things didn’t change in game two. Middleton made just one of his eight field goals for two points.
The Bucks defense held Orlando to 34.8% from the field and 21.2% (7 of 33) from three-point range.
The Bucks and Magic play game three in the bubble on Saturday.