Ah, there’s nothing quite like the smell of a basically must-win Game Three for the Milwaukee Bucks. We were at this same point just a few weeks ago after dropping two to the Brooklyn Nets, and the Phoenix Suns looked like a team on a mission in their two home contests. As expected, they more than took care of business. Monty Williams has them firing on all cylinders, and if one player has an off night, another is there to pick up the slack. They’re like a 300 phalanx right now, and Milwaukee needs to respond or they’ll effectively face the end of their season.
Where We’re At
The stellar news for Milwaukee Bucks fans is that Giannis Antetokounmpo looked incredible in the last game, despite some obvious limitations he’s still facing from that injured knee. His 20-point third quarter was the most in a Finals game in the last 25 years, and he ended with 42 points and 12 rebounds. As for the not so good news…nobody else picked up any slack. Jrue Holiday was aggressive (good!) but shot merely 7-21 (bad!) Khris Middleton was only 5-21 and even with eight assists his presence wasn’t all that felt in Game Two. Milwaukee needs to hope two days off and being back home can help wake those two up. They’ve been here before against Brooklyn, the problem is this Suns team is an entirely different challenge altogether.
As for Phoenix, they’re feeling swell. They took care of business at home, in somewhat convincing fashion, and if they steal either one of these games in Milwaukee the series is all but over mathematically. Chris Paul and Devin Booker had to work for their 54 combined points in Game Two as Bud upped the pressure on their pick and rolls, but they hit timely shots repeatedly throughout the game. When needed, they found the correct read and role players like Mikal Bridges stepped up for 27 points despite shooting just 3-9 from three. The Suns likely won’t shoot 20-40 from deep again, but the Bucks defense needs to finish possessions and string together stops.
On the injury front, Donte is out, as is Dario Saric for the Suns with that torn ACL. Torrey Craig is probable after that nasty fall on a charge from Giannis.
Player to Watch
Khris Middleton was the biggest disappointment for Milwaukee in their Game Two loss, and there’s nothing else to say beyond “please play better” for this one. He’s just 6-18 from deep in the Finals so far and he needs to find some shooting touch if the Bucks are going to avoid falling into an insurmountable 3-0 series hole.
Game Three: Against Phoenix, the Bucks will...
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