LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 25 points and Jrue Holiday delivered 22 as the third-seeded Milwaukee Bucks crushed the Atlanta Hawks 125-91 to level their Eastern Conference final series at 1-1.
Milwaukee used a 20-0 run in the second quarter to seize command on Friday, outscoring the fifth-seeded Hawks 43-17 in the quarter to grab a 77-45 halftime lead in front of a crowd of 16,400 at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee.
“We just needed to do more things better in this game. The effort was great,” said Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer. “The guys were committed and now we got to go do it again.”
Two-time league MVP Antetokounmpo made 11 of 18 shots from the field and Holiday went nine-of-14 for the Bucks, who shot 52 percent overall. Both Antetokounmpo and Holiday rested in the fourth quarter.
Game three is Sunday in Atlanta.
Brook Lopez scored 16 points and Khris Middleton added 15 points and eight assists in the win.
“We wanted to set the tone,” said Middleton. “We wanted to make sure they weren’t comfortable and have the aggression that we didn’t have in game one.”
The Bucks took advantage of 20 turnovers by Atlanta, including nine by Trae Young. The Hawks’ rising star finished with a team-high 15 points on six-of-16 shooting from the floor.
“I take responsibility for what happened tonight. Taking care of the ball is something I got to be better at,” said Young.
Young left the game for good with 3:48 remaining in the third quarter. He shot six of 16 overall, and one of eight on three-point attempts.
JASON KIDD TO HANDLE MAVS
Jason Kidd, who won an NBA title with the Dallas Mavericks as a player in 2011, has agreed to a deal to coach the club, according to multiple media reports on Friday.
The Mavericks also hired long-time Nike executive Nico Harrison as general manager, according to The Athletic, ESPN, USA Today and other media, citing unnamed sources.
Kidd, who played on US Olympic gold medal squads in 2000 at Sydney and 2008 at Beijing, has spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Lakers, helping them to an NBA title in that role last year.
“Damn I hate to lose JKidd man but damn I’m happy for him at the same time! Good luck Kidd!” tweeted Lakers star LeBron James.