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Playoffs 2019

NBA Playoffs 2019: Recap from Milwaukee Bucks commanding Game 2 win over Boston Celtics

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Giannis Antetokounmpo [NBA Getty Images]

After being handled on their home court in Game 1, the Milwaukee Bucks were out for blood in Game 2.

They destroyed the Boston Celtics on both ends of the floor on their way to a 123-102 victory to even the series 1-1.

Giannis Antetokounmpo finally got going in this one, finishing with 29 points and 10 rebounds while the Bucks other All-Star Khris Middleton shot the lights out from the perimeter on his way to a 28-point game on seven made 3-pointers.

The Celtics needed more from Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward to keep this one close but disappointing performances from the trio left Boston hopeless.

For the keys of the Bucks dominant Game 2 win, we have you covered with four takeaways below...

Unheralded All-Star catches fire

Defensive meetings for the Bucks tend to center around one man, Giannis Antetokounmpo. He's one of the most damaging players in the league and that's why the Celtics have put so much effort into slowing him down.

But it's the Bucks' other All-Star who has caused the Celtics severe headaches through the opening two games. Khris Middleton often slides under the radar thanks to Giannis, but the Celtics need to start planning more for him on the defensive end.

Middleton is one of the premier marksmen from beyond the arc in the NBA and he showed why in Game 2 by burying 7-10 from deep. He ended the contest with 28 points to his name along with seven rebounds.

But it's his exploits from behind the three-point line that should be the main cause for concern for Boston and their coaching staff.

Through the opening two games of the series, Middleton is shooting a scorching 71.4% from three (10-14). The Celtics need to crowd his airspace and they'll hope his hot hand cools off on the flight to Boston.

The third-quarter explosion

Only four points separated the two sides at halftime of Game 2. The Bucks grabbed the momentum in the second quarter, but the Celtics refused to go away. That all changed once the third quarter got underway.

Two quick threes for the Bucks got the ball rolling and they never took their foot off the gas as they effectively put the game beyond doubt in a dominant third-quarter.

They stretched their lead from four all the way out to 25 points in the space of 12 minutes.

Catching fire from beyond the arc was key to the 39-18 quarter scoring margin, but it was defensively where they turned the screws. Boston went ice cold and only managed two points over the final seven minutes of the quarter.

It saw the Bucks end the term on a 24-2 run and it was behind their superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Antetokounmpo was quiet in the first half with 13 points, but came to life with 15 points (4-6 FG) while knocking down both of his attempts from three. He also dished out two assists and grabbed six rebounds (two offensive) in the frame.

Bucks 3-point shooting

The Bucks shot the lights out in Game 2.

After going 13-for-39 (33.3%) from beyond the arc in Game 1, Milwaukee came out gunning again. Though they were out-played for the majority of the first half, their 3-point shooting gave them an edge over the Celtics.

The Bucks went 11-for-26 (42.3%) from 3-point land in the first half, a franchise record for 3's made in a half. Khris Middleton led the way going 5-for-7 from long range with Brook Lopez and Eric Bledsoe each knocking down two and Pat Connaughton and George Hill sinking one each.

Halftime didn't cool off their 3-point barrage either, as the Bucks shot a 6-for-9 clip from deep in the third quarter. Their 17 3-pointers set a franchise playoff record and it only took them three quarters to accomplish that feat.

Their long range shooting blew the game open, finishing 20-for-47 (42.6%) on the night.

Needing more from Kyrie

Kyrie Irving took a step back from his stellar performance in Game 1 and his team's result sacrificed because of it.

Irving started the game ice cold shooting 2-for-12 (16.7%) from the field in the first half for just five points. Usually, Irving can snap a cold streak by passing well and getting his teammates involved with the attention he draws from the defence but that wasn't the case in this one, as he had just two assists at the half.

With his team only trailing by four going into the break, there was still plenty of opportunity to turn things around.

Irving couldn't find his stroke, going 2-for-5 from the field in the third quarter and with his team unable to keep up with Milwaukee, he didn't log a minute in the fourth quarter.

Kyrie finished with just nine points on 4-for-18 (22.2%) from the field and 1-for-5 (20.0%) from long range. He had four assists and three turnovers, concluding arguably the worst playoff games of his career.

This was only the second time in his 58 career playoff games that he failed to reach double-digits in scoring. The first time includes a disclaimer, as he scored six points in 2015 as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers when he left the game after hurting his knee 12 minutes into the game.

The Celtics will need Irving to shake this one off and get his mind right for when the series returns back to Boston for Games 3 and 4.

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