The Milwaukee Bucks is in tough spot ahead of Game 3 of the NBA Finals. Not only are the Bucks down 2-0 to the Phoenix Suns but with Giannis already back in the fold and playing great, they need to find some other way to turn the momentum of the series.
The Bucks do have a good home environment at the Fiserv Forum. But I am not sure that is enough, especially with the Suns maximizing guard Chris Paul. Paul is one of the most unflappable players in the league always having the ball in his hands.
Getting back into the NBA Finals is going to be difficult for the Bucks, but a win tonight would be a big step.
NBA Finals Game 3: Phoenix Suns (2-0) vs Milwaukee Bucks (0-2), ABC, 8:00 PM ET
Phoenix Can Just Keep Doing What it is Doing
The Suns took care of business at home, winning and covering in both games. Game 2 was a little different than Game 1, showing the strength of the team.
Phoenix still leaned heavily on its backcourt, but in the last game Devin Booker was the leading scorer with 31 points while Chris Paul scored 23. Paul did seem a little off his game with 6 turnovers though, which is the most he has had in a playoff game this season.
Phoenix’s Depth Pushes Suns to 2-0 NBA Finals Lead
The Bucks were able to quiet center Deandre Ayton, even though he posted 10 points and 11 rebounds for yet another double-double. His impact was decreased which opened things up for Mikal Bridges. The wing defender scored a playoff-high 27 points, showing the depth of the Suns.
With the NBA Finals shifting to Milwaukee, Phoenix knows it can rely on all of its players. That confidence, especially compared to what Milwaukee is feeling these days is going to make a huge difference.
The Suns are underdogs for the first time since Game 3 of their second-round series against the Denver Nuggets. They upset and covered in that game on the way to a sweep of the Nuggets.
Milwaukee in Desperation Mode Once Again
Watching Giannis in Game 2 you would never have though that his playoffs were in jeopardy due to injury a week ago. He led all scorers in the loss with 42 points, shooting 15 for 22, and making more than half of his free throws. Now that the Bucks are down 0-2 though, all the talk is how the Bucks are “wasting” him. That is code for maybe they need a new coach, right? Reaching the NBA Finals may have saved Mike Budenholzer’s job, but that is not a certainty.
It is the games of Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday that seem to be holding the Bucks back. I don’t want to say they are “regular season” players because we have seen some glimpses in the postseason. But similar to the criticism of the Clippers’ Paul George, to be considered elite, you have to be consistent on the big stages like the NBA Finals. Both shot poorly in the Game 2 loss and Middleton was a team worst -15.
Playing at home should make some difference, but their confidence seems to be so finicky. They either play really well or not; there is very little middle ground.
Does Budenholzer Need to Give Portis More Minutes?
With Giannis back there has not been much of a role for reserve Bobby Portis. He should not play over the team’s best player for sure, but I think they need his energy more. He can space the floor like Brook Lopez does and I wonder if giving him more minutes might be a move to make, just to change it up. You gotta do something when you are down 0-2 and role players often play better at home.
With the series moving to Milwaukee the Bucks are favored for the first time in the series. The spread is saying it might be a little more than just the change of venue too which is interesting.
Phoenix Suns vs Milwaukee Bucks NBA Finals Game 3 Matchup: Picks, Odds, Stats and More
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