On Saturday, the Milwaukee Bucks blew out the Orlando Magic for the second game in a row to regain control of their first-round series.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had his fingerprints all over the game with - takes a deep breath - 35 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and one block. He was one of four Bucks to score in double figures, the others being Khris Middleton (17), Brook Lopez (16) and Eric Bledsoe (14).
For more on the game, here are some quick thoughts...
1. Help might be on the way
Before the game, Magic head coach Steve Clifford told the media that they're "hoping that maybe there's a chance" Aaron Gordon can play in Game 4.
"He's doing a lot better," Clifford said, per Josh Robbins of The Athletic. "He wouldn't be able to get up-and-down the floor, frankly. So he's made good progress and he'll do his work today and tomorrow, and then we're hoping that maybe there's a chance by Monday."
Gordon hasn't played since injuring his hamstring in Orlando's loss to the Toronto Raptors during the seeding games. He was the Magic's fourth-leading scorer on the season with 14.4 points per game and is one of the team's best defenders.
2. The Bucks are done messing around
The Magic winning Game 1 seems to have lit a fire under the Bucks.
Much like Game 2, the Bucks provided the first punch in Game 3, jumping out to a 31-23 lead after the first quarter. They then poured it on in the second quarter with an 11-4 run to open the frame to build a double digit lead that they never looked back on.
End 3Q: 😐😑😶⚪️- Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) August 22, 2020
The Bucks might not have gotten the playoffs off to the start they were expecting, but they're starting to look like the team that steamrolled their way to the best record in the league again. That's bad news for the Magic and every other team in the Eastern Conference.
3. Giannis Antetokounmpo is a cheat code
Here's what Antetokounmpo did in the first half of this one: 21 points on a perfect 8-for-8 shooting from the field and 3-for-5 from the free throw line, all in ... 16 minutes.
It wasn't just on offence where Antetokounmpo shined either. He came up with two big-time defensive plays in the first half, first swatting Magic centre Khem Birch at the rim...
DPOTY. pic.twitter.com/EpGD5u7M5h- Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) August 22, 2020
...followed by a pick six on D.J. Augustin.
Air Greek Freak. pic.twitter.com/9NbYXC6ydP- Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) August 22, 2020
Antetokounmpo is a finalist for both MVP and Defensive Player of the Year this season, need you be reminded. It's terrifying when he's firing on all cylinders.
4. Oh, Giannis Antetokounmpo can pass too
This is a beauty:
Sneaky pass by Giannis 👀 pic.twitter.com/8NgZTSAjb7- NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) August 22, 2020
5. Hello there, Khris Middleton
Middleton was oddly quiet to start this series. In Game 1, he finished with 14 points on 4-for-12 shooting from the field. In Game 2, two points on 1-for-8 shooting.
In Game 3? 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists on 7-for-17 shooting from the field and 3-for-7 from 3-point range.
Middleton was back to doing Middleton things, much to the appreciation of Antetokounmpo.
You think Giannis is happy to see Khris Middleton get going? pic.twitter.com/a08bXmGonG- Kane Pitman (@KanePitman) August 22, 2020
The Bucks are going to need Middleton to get back to his All-Star ways to compete for the title this season, so it was encouraging to see him come out aggressive and get some shots to fall.
6. This Magic team has a lot of fight
The Magic trailed by as much as 34 points in the second half of Game 3. They were never able to cut the deficit to single digits after that Milwaukee run to start the second quarter, but they did cut its lead to 12 points at one point of the fourth quarter, forcing Mike Budenholzer to play his starters probably more than he wanted to down the stretch.
It was D.J. Augustin and Terrence Ross who sparked the run. Ross scored nine of his 20 points in the third quarter while Augustin scored 10 of his team-high 24 points in the fourth.
20 for T-Ross... Magic battling back! #NBAPlayoffs@Bucks 106@OrlandoMagic 92- NBA (@NBA) August 22, 2020
7 minutes left on @NBAonTNT. pic.twitter.com/Ue4ASRQ4tS
7. What's next
The Bucks will look to take a commanding 3-1 lead when these two teams meet again on Monday.
The game is at 11:00 p.m. and you can watch it on League Pass.
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