The Phoenix Suns are out to a 2-0 lead, but the Milwaukee Bucks are now preparing to host an NBA Finals game for the first time in almost 50 years.
Suns Setting On Milwaukee
The Phoenix Suns tipped off the NBA Finals with back-to-back wins on their home court to take a 2-0 series lead. Now, the Milwaukee Bucks are preparing to host their first NBA Finals game in almost 50 years as they look to start clawing their way back.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is banged up. Still, he managed 20 points and 17 rebounds in Game 1 and 42 points and 12 rebounds in Game 2. The problem for the Bucks is in the backcourt. Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton have combined for just 67 points while shooting 36.3% from the field across the two games. Holiday was brought into the team to provide a veteran defensive presence but has shown enough in the playoffs to expect a better performance with the ball. Meanwhile, Middleton has so often stepped up when it matters. He needs to now if the Bucks are to come back.
Chris Paul and Devin Booker, meanwhile, are doing what they like on the offensive end. Their 113 combined points so far in this series surpassed Steph Curry and Klay Thompson’s record (106 points) for most points by a starting backcourt through two games of an NBA Finals over the last 50 seasons.
Despite Phoenix’s dominance through the first two games, the Bucks are favoured to turn it around on home court:
“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.” – NBA Tips & Preview – Bucks V Suns (Game 3)
The Bucks are $1.50 and -4.5 favourites to win Game 3.
Finals MVP Update
It has felt like a fairytale in the making ever since the Suns started to creep towards the NBA Finals and look like legitimate title contenders. Chris Paul can cap off an outstanding career by winning the big one and doing it as the MVP. He’s the current favourite at $1.67.
Unsurprisingly, Devin Booker is on the second line of betting at $3.50. While putting up impressive numbers himself, so much of what Booker does comes from Paul setting the table.
He’s not at the same level as some of the other injuries that have defined this NBA season and its playoff series. However, at this time of the year and with only four games left to win, having reliable players available off the bench can be crucial. Unfortunately for the Suns, they lost one of those players in Game 1.
Suns forward Dario Saric has a torn ACL in his right knee.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 7, 2021
An Upset For The Ages
A crazy year for basketball has continued with Nigeria defeating Team USA 90-87 in an Olympics exhibition match.
Incredible 90-87 victory for coach Mike Brown and Nigeria. Reminder for Team USA about how unpredictable FIBA basketball can be. https://t.co/bDR4T4jwDm
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 11, 2021
While it isn’t the best U.S. men’s basketball team ever assembled, Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum and Damian Lillard all still featured in Team USA’s first ever loss to an African nation.
For some perspective on how big of an upset this is:
July 2021 in Las Vegas: Nigeria 90, United States 87
August 2012 at the London Olympics:
United States 156, Nigeria 73
(The latter, yes, really was an 83-point margin.)
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) July 11, 2021
Exhibition game or not, it’s an incredible achievement for Nigeria who knocked down 20-of-42 shots from beyond the arc.
Gabe Vincent topped the points tally for Nigeria with 21 points.