The Phoenix Suns have a 2-0 series lead over the Milwaukee Bucks heading into Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night. Tip-off is set for 8 pm at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, WI.
Through two games in Phoenix, the main story has been the play of Chris Paul and Devin Booker. The standout duo has been lights out against a Bucks team that has struggled to figure out the most effective lineups defensively. Chris Paul finished with 23 points on 10-20, shooting with eight assists. Booker had 31 points on 12-25 shooting, including seven three-pointers.
The Suns as a team made 20 three-pointers on 40 attempts. It was the second most threes ever made in a Finals game. When asked about if he’s used to playing in a game where a team makes 20 threes, CP3 responded:
“I played in Houston.”
Devin Booker was red hot in this one and hit huge shots that kept the Bucks out of reach during certain points of the game. Anytime Milwaukee got close, and it felt like Booker found a way to stop the bleeding.
Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo played one of the best games of his career on Thursday night, finishing with 42 points and 12 rebounds. Giannis was also doing his fair share on the defensive side of the ball with three blocks where it seemed like he came out of nowhere.
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There was a play right before halftime where Giannis was jogging back on the offensive end before bumping into Chris Paul, who was trying to take a charge. The referees called it a block, but Giannis seemed shaken up and grabbing the left knee that he hyperextended in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Greek Freak played through it and gave the Bucks a chance, but in the end, it was his supporting cast that let him down. The bench was non-existent, as it has been ever since Divincenzo went down.
Pat Connaughton had a solid performance off the bench but wasn’t able to come through in the big moments late. Connaughton finished with 14 points going 4-9 from three but missed a crucial wide-open three halfway through the fourth to cut the Suns lead to three. He also made a deflating turnover with just under three minutes to go in transition that effectively ended the Bucks’ hopes at a late rally.
Milwaukee desperately needed a big performance from their star guard Jrue Holiday, but he was ice cold from the floor for the entire night. The former UCLA guard went just 7-21 from the floor along with four fouls and 17 points in a really disappointing performance in a crucial Game 2.
Holiday did make some big defensive plays at the rim, blocking a Booker dunk and then rejecting Ayton at the rim, but that was mostly it for Jrue on an underwhelming night.
The Bucks will need to find an effective way to use Brook Lopez, who has been caught in some ugly drop coverage and switches in the first two games. Lopez had found himself guarding Booker on numerous occasions, and it hasn’t paid off well for the big guy. He is still an extremely effective center that Milwaukee needs if they are going to win this series.
I would expect PJ Tucker to play very few minutes in Game 3 because he is effectively a zero on the offensive side and can’t stay with Booker or any other guard for that matter.
No NBA team has ever erased a 3-0 deficit, and I don’t expect the Bucks to be in that position after Sunday night.
Right now, the spread is -3.5 for the Bucks (-110), and I think that is the best bet you can take right now as the Bucks role players should play much better at home.
If you are feeling good about the Suns in Game 3, the lines should swing further in the Bucks’ favor, so I would wait until Sunday to place your bet on Phoenix moneyline or spread.