The daily preview muscles into the paint with NBA Playoffs tips for Game 2 of the NBA Finals between Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks.
11:00 (AEST), Fri 9th Jul @ Phoenix Suns Arena
History: Played 149: Suns 76 V Bucks 73
Last meeting: July 7, 2021 (Game 1): Suns 118 d Bucks 105 at Phoenix Suns Arena
Final Thoughts: Milwaukee Bucks unexpectedly got their marquee man back from injury for Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Finals. But Giannis Antetokounmpo’s presence wasn’t enough to prevent a 118-105 series-opening loss to Phoenix Suns.
Now the pressure is on the Bucks to level up in Game 2 – or head home on the wrong end of a 2-0 scoreline.
Chris Paul took the first step towards a Finals MVP gong and a maiden Championship for the Suns in Game 1. The veteran point guard put up 32 pts (12-for 19 shooting) and 9 assists. Devin Booker had 27 points, while big man Deandre Ayton (22 pts, 19 reb) was superb at both ends.
Phoenix grinded their way to a 16-point lead by three-quarter time.
Antetokoumpo managed 20 points, 17 rebounds and 4 assists in 34 minutes of game-time, defying a knee injury that kept him out of the last two games of the Eastern Conference Finals. Khris Middelton (29 pts, 7 reb, 4 ast) attempted to pick up some slack and hit five three-pointers.
Giannis will be more formidable in Game 2, but it’s hard to know where enough Bucks improvement comes from to beat the ultra-consistent Suns in their own backyard. The Bucks shot better from three-point range in Game 1 (16-for-36) and outrebounded the Suns (47-43). The Suns are locked in, combining so well and staying composed – and CP3 looks set to prove an insurmountable difference at this stage.
Milwaukee will get a chance to turn it around in this series, but I just don’t see it in Game 2. Phoenix have covered 11 of their last 14 and that shapes as the best bet again.