MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo started the game with an emphatic dunk. The next possession, a sprawling block to deny Marc Gasol. The next possession, another dunk.
The tone was set.
And it never changed.
The Eastern Conference does not belong to Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks — yet. But they are two wins away, after Antetokounmpo had 30 points and 17 rebounds, Ersan Ilyasova came off the bench to add 17 points and the Bucks never trailed on the way to a 125-103 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Friday night and a 2-0 lead in the East finals.
“He plays so hard, he lays it all on the line, every time,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “It was a great start for us. I think everybody fed off of Giannis and how he started the game.”
How he finished, too.
Antetokounmpo scored 11 points in the fourth for the Bucks, who wound up with six players in double figures — three of them reserves. Nikola Mirotic scored 15, Malcolm Brogdon had 14, George Hill 13 and Khris Middleton 12.
“We really rely on each other … especially the bench,” Ilyasova said. “The starting five set the tone.”
Kawhi Leonard scored 31 points for Toronto, which gave up the game’s first nine points, never led and trailed by double digits for the final 39 minutes. Kyle Lowry scored 15 and Norman Powell had 14 for the Raptors.
“We didn’t do much well tonight, obviously,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said.
Game 3 is Sunday in Toronto.