The daily preview muscles into the paint with NBA Playoffs tips for Game 3 of the NBA Finals between Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks.
10:00 (AEST), Mon 12th Jul @ Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee
History: Played 150: Suns 77 V Bucks 73
Last meeting: July 9, 2021 (Game 2): Suns 118 d Bucks 108 at Phoenix Suns Arena
Final Thoughts: It’s effectively do-or-die for Milwaukee Bucks as the NBA Finals move to Cream City for Game 3 with Phoenix Suns holding a commanding 2-0 lead.
The Suns initially took the ascendancy with a 118-105 win in the series opener. Chris Paul 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.
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 Middleton (29 pts, 7 reb, 4 ast) attempted to pick up some slack and hit five three-pointers.
The Suns reached the halfway mark of what they need for a maiden Championship by taking out Game 2 by 118-108. Antetokoumpo (42 pts, 12 reb) was back to somewhere near his blockbusting best, but support was lacking. Middleton and Jrue Holiday managed just 12-for-37 from the field between them.
The Bucks shot better from three-point range in Game 1 but struggled from behind the arc in Game 2, hitting just 9 of 31. The Suns nailed half of their 40 three-point attempts in arguably the key difference.
Devin Booker (31 pts, 6 ast) went 7-for-12 from three, while Mikal Bridges (27 pts, 7 reb) and Paul (23 pts, 8 ast) also starred. Ayton and Jae Crowder both had double-doubles.
Bucks favoured to turn it around on home court
Nevertheless, the Bucks are $1.52 favourites to get on the board at home. They are 33-11 at home this season, losing just one of their seven at Fiserv Forum – Game 1 against the Hawks – in these playoffs. The Suns, though are 30-14 on the road, winning six of eight away in the off-season.
Milwaukee will be desperate. The home crowd will lift them. Giannis will be Giannis and the best of Middleton and Holiday may be enough to squeak out the W. But the Suns have been so composed and consistent – throughout the playoffs and in the Finals so far – and it’s hard to resist them with the points.