The ‘Bench Mob’ story is a testament of the series so far as the Milwaukee Bucks dominate the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals. So far, they are the superior team, as their scary and deep play has shown.
‘Bench Mob’ Story of Series So Far as Milwaukee Bucks Dominate
Setting the Tone Early
Game two of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors was telling from the opening tip. From the games first possession, Milwaukee imposed its will on Toronto. Giannis Antetokounmpo set the tone early with a pair of dunks.
From there on out, just like in game one, Milwaukee’s bench completely dominated, outmatched and outhustled the Raptors. The Bucks led 35-21 after one quarter and increased their lead to 25 points; 64-39 at half time. By all accounts, the game was over at halftime.
‘Bench Mob’ Contribution
While Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way with 30 points and 17 boards, Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe had quiet nights again, with 12 points and eight points respectively. Bledsoe was scoreless at halftime, yet the Bucks still had a 25 point lead.
The team is getting a major lift and huge contributions from the second unit, led by Ersan Ilyasova‘s 17 points and Malcolm Brogdon’s 14 points. George Hill continued his postseason productivity by chipping in 13 points, five rebounds, and two assists. In total, the ‘Bench Mob’ contributed 54 points in total. This was 10 points shy of Toronto’s starters overall and having played significantly fewer minutes.
Not Overly Flashy
The four major contributors off the bench like to refer to themselves as the ‘Bench Mob’ as if they are members of an exclusive club. None of the major contributors are flashy names, although Malcolm Brogdon is a former rookie of the year. Ilyasova, Pat Connaughton, and George Hill are all smart, solid, classy lunch pail veterans who bring their hard hats to work.
Lunch Pails and Hardhats
There is no flash (other than Connaughton’s athleticism) and no egos with this group. Everybody comes to work, does their job and only cares about winning. Personal stats are out the window. This group is selfless.
On any given night, any member of the bench can step up and provide the dagger shot, force a killer turnover or grab a crucial rebound.
They provide instant energy, competitiveness, and a spark. There is so much trust within one another. This is all without Sterling Brown and Tony Snell (who have fallen out of the rotation in this series). Both players were major contributors at some point during the regular season.
If history repeats itself in the series, there might be another major contributor off the bench in game three at Toronto. Who that will be remains to be seen.
Milwaukee defended their home court by winning the first two games at home. They look like the superior team by far. They are much deeper, create much better spacing for open shooters and are better coached. That is not to say that Nick Nurse is not a good coach. Mike Budenholzer does such an excellent job with the pieces he has and is able to match their skill set to his schemes.
If the bench continues to contribute at a prolific and fruitful pace, this series could very well be a sweep, or over in five or six games max. Bucks fans can then look forward their first NBA finals visit in 45 years.
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