Giannis Antetokounpo leads Bucks past Pistons for 2-0 series lead

Milwaukee Bucks (Getty Images)

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - APRIL 17: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks drives to the basket during Game Two of the first round of the 2019 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs against the Detroit Pistons at Fiserv Forum on April 17, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 13 of his 26 points in Milwaukee’s big third quarter and the Bucks beat the Detroit Pistons 120-99 on Wednesday night to take a 2-0 lead in the first-round playoff series.

Eric Bledsoe led the Bucks with 27 points, and Khris Middleton had 24. Milwaukee is trying win a series for the first time since 2001.

Luke Kennard had 19 points for Detroit. Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond each added 18, and Drummond had 16 rebounds. Detroit star Blake Griffin sat out again with a left knee injury, but received a technical for the second straight game for arguing from the bench.

Game 3 is Saturday night in Detroit.

After scoring 10 points and playing only 14 minutes in the first half because of foul trouble, Antetokounmpo scored Milwaukee’s first seven points in the third quarter. The Bucks outscored Detroit 35-17 in the period to take a 93-76 lead into the fourth.

Detroit clawed within seven in the fourth before the Bucks put it away, capped by a hard drive by Antetokounmpo on a break. He banked in an awkward reverse-angle shot while crashing to the floor after being fouled by Drummond. He competed the three-point play it make it 105-87.

Detroit battled back in the second quarter, finally taking a 57-56 lead on Jackson’s jumper with 28 seconds left. Bledsoe briefly put the Bucks back in front, but Jackson closed the half with a layup to give Detroit a 59-58 lead.

Tip-ins

Pistons: Griffin took part in light drills at the morning’s shootaround while wearing a heavy brace on his leg. … Thon Maker, acquired from Milwaukee near the trading deadline, started in Griffin’s place for the second straight game. … Detroit committed two turnovers in the first half.

Bucks: G Tony Snell, who continues to deal with a left ankle sprain, was inactive. Snell has been sidelined since rolling his ankle March 24 against Cleveland. Sterling Brown started at shooting guard in place of Snell. … Pau Gasol (left foot soreness) and Malcolm Brogdon (right foot plantar fascia) also remained out. … F Nikola Mirotic, who played 15 minutes and scored four points Sunday, had two points in 11 minutes in Game 2. Mirotic missed the last 11 games of the regular season after fracturing his left thumb March 19.

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