The Milwaukee Bucks played in their first NBA Finals game since 1974 but fell short against the Phoenix Suns 105-118. For the third straight series, Milwaukee lost Game One and will need to right the ship to try and even the series.
Giannis looked pretty good. Considering he was doubtful heading into Game One, only to be elevated to questionable a few hours before tip-off, the big question was going to be how will he look. Giannis was moving well and the first play of the game was him attempting to get an alley-oop. Giannis played 35 minutes and had a stat line of 20/17/4, shot 60% from the free throw line, and was the only starter to have a positive plus-minus. He isn’t 100% and looked fatigued at times but the highlight is his very impressive chasedown block in the second quarter, once again making me question how we are both humans.
GIANNIS SUPERHUMAN BLOCK pic.twitter.com/5nbETqLGmc— ESPN (@espn) July 7, 2021
Milwaukee had no answers for Chris Paul. The point god was going to make sure his team didn’t drop the ball in his first NBA Finals game in his 16-year career. Paul was simply masterful and it didn’t matter what the Bucks threw at him, he exploited every plan. Bucks tried switching 1-5, that didn’t matter as Paul was hitting shots in Brook Lopez’s face. Try to zone drop, Paul could either shoot another midrange or throw a lob to Deandre Ayton. The third quarter is where he did most of his damage and all that resulted in a 32 point on 12/19 shooting, 9 assists and only two turnovers. You hope he doesn’t shoot as well in the future, but I wouldn’t bet on that.
Free throws make a difference. I try not to be a blame the ref person and 99% of the time, I would say I don’t point at the refs and think something is off. Now I will say, the Bucks left plenty of points on the floor in other areas, more on that later, but for the majority of the match, Devin Booker had more free throws by himself than the Bucks as a team had. For a team like Milwaukee who try to attack the paint, you would think it would be more even and the fact that Khris Middleton didn’t shoot a single free throw while getting the same physical defense as Booker was frustrating.
- Milwaukee missed a lot of bunnies in the first half. Giannis missed a layup, Brook couldn’t get tip-ins to fall, PJ had some bunnies fall short, while Khris and Jrue had some running layups not fall. The Bucks were 8/16 for shots in the rim in the first half and had a few more fallen, this potentially could have been a different game.
- Jrue Holiday was BAD; 4/14 from the field and 0/4 from three wasn’t the worst of it as he had some bad turnovers that hurt Milwaukee’s offense. He was a -16 which was the worst of any of the starters and more will be needed from him in Game 2.
- At one point, the Suns were leading by 20 in the third quarter as they went on to score 35 points.
- Bryn Forbes and Jeff Teague were on the court at the same time. It went about as well as you would expect and included a Jeff Teague three followed by a turnover.
- Deandre Ayton had a very good game scoring 22 points and having 19 rebounds. The times Milwaukee switched on to him and the Suns found a mismatch, they took advantage of it.
- The Bucks did start the Game switching 1-5 I was a bit surprised that’s how they started the game.
- Khris Middleton struggled in the first half but rebounded in the second half leading the Bucks with 29 points. I think that’s just going to be the norm for him.
- The Bucks shot the ball well going 16/36 from three. So that was nice to see they are capable of shooting well.