Published On: Wed, Apr 18th, 2018

Tough times: Bucks blown out in Game 2 despite shooting nearly 60 percent

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The Milwaukee Bucks have had a frustrating couple of days in Boston.

After dropping the opener of their first-round series to the Celtics in overtime on Sunday, they watched Boston come out hard in Game 2 on Tuesday and roll to a 120-106 win.

Despite losing by 14 points, Milwaukee shot 59.7 percent from the floor – the fourth-highest field-goal percentage ever by a losing team in an NBA playoff game (the highest belongs to the Bucks as well, in an April 29, 1986 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers).

How that happened

To borrow an old cliche, you cannot stop Giannis Antetokounmpo, you can only attempt contain him. He’s going to get his, and he got it Tuesday to the tune of 30 points on 13-of-17 shooting.

But because the one thing the Greek Freak’s game lacks right now is a consistent 3-point shot, he’s not pulling any defenders back to the perimeter – or kicking out to more than one reliable shooter. The Celtics have done a decent job of utilizing their big-heavy lineup to try and disrupt Antetokoumpo, having the likes of Aron Baynes harass him down low.

This also exposes the Bucks’ reality that they lack enough shooters to truly maximize Antetokounmpo’s game. They shot an excellent 41.2 percent from downtown in Game 2, but only on 17 attempts (the Bucks ranked 25th in the NBA in both total 3-point attempts and attempts per game this season).

Khris Middleton, Milwaukee’s best outside shooter, shot 4-of-6 Tuesday, making the rest of the team 3-for-11. Simply put, Antetokoumpo can get all the shots at the rim he wants, but the Bucks need to figure out a way to diversify their attack this summer.

Related: Bledsoe on Rozier: ‘I don’t even know who the f— that is’

Another ingredient in Milwaukee’s 0-2 hole was its 35 turnovers in the first two games. That included 15 in Game 2, versus only 19 assists. Yet a major continuing problem is their bench – or lack thereof. In the two games in Boston, the Bucks’ second unit scored just 23 and 25 points, respectively. Matthew Dellavedova has been limited by injury, but the real tale of woe is Jabari Parker.

The No. 2 pick in the 2014 draft was scoreless in 10 minutes of action off the bench Tuesday, and has one field goal in the series so far. Parker is very likely in his last days with the team, but an inability to contribute in any meaningful way is only making the prolonged split worse.

(Photo courtesy NBA League Pass)

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