The Milwaukee Bucks dominated the Toronto Raptors, 125-103, in Game 2 to take a 2-0 series lead of the Eastern Conference finals.
The Bucks took a 64-39 lead entering halftime and never looked back as Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 30 points and grabbed 17 rebounds to go along with five assists. Milwaukee had six players score in double figures, including three off of the bench.
Milwaukee led wire-to-wire in this win as they'll look to take a 3-0 lead in Game 3 as the series shifts to Toronto on Sunday night.
Here are three takeaways from Game 2.
While Giannis Antetokounmpo was spectacular in Game 2 -- 30 points and 17 rebounds -- it was the team effort and the play of Milwaukee's bench is what made the difference in this game. Six total players and three players off of the bench scored in double figures, with Ersan Ilyasova's 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting leading the way for the reserves. For the record, Ilyasova scored just seven points in 14 minutes off of the bench in Game 1 and had entered this game averaging just 6.3 points in 18.8 minutes per game in the postseason.
The bench and the Bucks' role players are the reason why they hold a 2-0 series lead -- and why they could ultimately win this series.
As good as Marc Gasol was in the postseason series against the Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid, he's been absolutely useless in this series so far. Nobody on the Bucks posts up as their big men -- Nikola Mirotic and Brook Lopez -- shoot 3-pointers and Giannis simply wills his way to the hoop.
Gasol doesn't have the quickness to keep up with Giannis and he can't close out on Mirotic or Lopez. While Lopez didn't have a huge effort tonight, Mirotic did with his 15 points and six boards on 5-of-10 shooting.
Raptors head coach Nick Nurse seems to have recognized this and given up on Gasol -- he didn't play at all in the final 18 minutes of the game.
Gasol's final stat line looked like this -- two points on 1-of-9 shooting, five boards and a -14 plus/minus rating in just 19 minutes of playing time.
It's one thing to be weak defensively -- but when you're weak offensively in this series, that means you have nothing to contribute, which means you need to be on the bench.
The major question entering this series was whether or not Kawhi Leonard would receive help from Toronto's bench in the conference finals. While he received a superb effort from Kyle Lowry as he scored 30 points in Game 1, he received no such help in Game 2.
While the Bucks' bench trio of Ilyasova, George Hill and Malcolm Brogdon came out to play, the Raptors' role players did not. Leonard scored 31 points on an efficient 10-of-18 from the field and a perfect 10-of-10 from the charity stripe. Meanwhile, Lowry's playoff struggles continued as he went 4-of-13 from the field and 2-of-9 from beyond the arc. Not only was he bad from the field, he contributed just four assists as the Bucks killed the Raptors with their ball movement, notching 27 team assists in comparison to Toronto's 19 for the game.
I already mentioned how bad Gasol was in this game. Now allow me to mention that Pascal Siakam continued to be a non-factor as he scored just eight points on 4-of-9 from the field on a game-worst -21 plus/minus rating. The Raptors' four starters outside of Kawhi combined for just 33 points on 11-of-37 from the field (29.7 percent) and 4-of-17 from 3-point range (23.5 percent).
For comparison's sake, the Bucks' bench trio of Ilyasova, Hill and Brogdon scored 44 points on 17-of-29 from the field (58.6 percent) and 6-of-14 from beyond the arc (42.8 percent).
When one team's bench trio outscores and outplays four of your five starters, that's a recipe for disaster.