To many people’s surprise, Giannis Antetokounmpo gave it a go in Game 1 of the NBA Finals while dealing with a hyperextended left knee, but the two-time MVP didn’t disappoint, as he put up 20 points, 17 rebounds and four assists. Despite his efforts, the Phoenix Suns still defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 118-105.
Despite dealing with the injury, Antetokounmpo still looked like his old athletic self, throwing down some powerful dunks and making some key defensive plays. Let’s take a closer look at the Bucks vs Suns Game 2 pick, shall we!?
Game 1 | A Closer Look
Game 1 was fairly close for the first 24 minutes of the game, but the Suns pulled away in the third quarter led by Chris Paul’s 16 points.
The Bucks got great contributions from several of their guys offensively, but they were absolutely torched on the defensive side, especially in the mid-range game.
Chris Paul and Devin Booker took full advantage of Brook Lopez’s lack of quickness, as both guys were able to get the big fella off balance with their dribble and take advantage of the space given to them.
Because Lopez was busy guarding out by the perimeter and the Suns’ ball movement heavy offense causing several switches that turned into favorable matchups, Deandre Ayton was also able to wreak havoc inside, finishing with 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting and 6-of-6 from the free-throw line to go along with 19 points.
Bucks vs Suns Game 2 Pick
In Game 2, the Bucks are going to need to keep Lopez guarding near the rim as a rim protector to limit the damage Ayton can inflict down there.
They’re also going to need to come up with a better defensive game plan on Paul and Booker, as both guys took full advantage of every defender thrown their way not named Jrue Holiday. Holiday limited Booker to 0-of-6 shooting in the nearly seven minutes he spent guarding him, and also allowed Paul to get up just two shots on him when guarding him for four minutes, as both ended up being makes from three-point land.
PJ Tucker and Khris Middleton are both very capable defenders out on the perimeter and on post-ups, so it’ll be up to the Bucks to strategize their defensive game plan to stick those two defenders onto the Suns’ star backcourt.
Milwaukee will also need Holiday to shoot better in this one, as he put up just 10 points on 4-of-14 shooting, He did contribute nine assists and seven rebounds, but given Antetokounmpo’s potential limitations offensively, Holiday needs to be better at creating better shots for himself.
The Suns clearly benefited from playing in frontof their loud, passionate fans in the first game of the series, but now that the Bucks have a good feel for what the environment is like out there, we can expect them to make the proper adjustments heading into Game 2. They will have to earn this win though and learn from their defensive mistakes if they hope to even up the series, however.
All eyes will be on Antetokounmpo, as Bucks fans hope he can continue to look good out there despite the injury.