If you were looking for a fight when you tuned in to Game 3 between the Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic on Saturday, you didn’t have to wait to get one. However, it really didn’t have anything to do with the game, which was a mostly one-sided affair.
On a day that featured a skirmish between Marvin Williams and James Ennis III — a scrap that led to ejections for both — the Bucks dealt a significant blow to the Magic with a runaway, 121-107 victory to take a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven first-round series.
Reigning and presumptive MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo was at the top of his game in piloting the Bucks to victory. He looked like a man among boys as he powered to the hoop with regularity, making all eight of his first-half shots to help Milwaukee build a lead as large as 34 points and a halftime advantage of 27.
Antetokounmpo didn’t stay perfect all afternoon, but he was certainly close. He finished with 35 points on 12-of-14 shooting, including making all 10 of his shots inside the paint. Milwaukee’s superstar added 11 rebounds and seven assists while putting his high intensity and passion on display throughout the day as he roared after dunks, pumped his fist after buckets by teammates and dove for loose balls even midway through the fourth quarter when the result seemed all but decided.
After dominating for so much of the game, the Bucks did lose their grip a bit in the second half as Orlando unleashed a barrage of 3-pointers — the Magic made a season-high 19 while making 47.5% of them — to get the margin to within 12, but they wouldn’t get any closer. A couple of Antetokounmpo free throws earned during a trip inside and then an Antetokounmpo kickout to Brook Lopez for a corner 3 sealed the win.
Khris Middleton shook off his playoff slump with 17 points on 7-of-17 shooting to go with eight rebounds and six assists in the win. Lopez chipped in 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting and Eric Bledsoe tacked on 14 points and team-high eight assists.
While the game didn’t lend itself to much drama, Williams and Ennis provided that in spades in the second quarter. The two players tussled under the rim during a shot with Ennis adding a little extra shove on Williams toward the end of the box-out.
Williams took exception to the shove and turned back to confront Ennis, with the two bumping chests. Williams then issued a two-hand shove to Ennis’ chest before seemingly easing up so the two could finish things off with their words.
An official came over to separate the two players, and Williams grabbed Ennis’ jersey collar to continue talking to him. Meanwhile, Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham had come over to help calm the situation. Ennis forcefully swung his arm to try to break free of Williams’ grip, a move that nearly hit the official and threw off Ham’s balance, sending him slipping to the ground.
Both players were ejected and could be subject to further punishments from the league.