After a convincing 118-105 victory in Game 1 of The NBA Finals, the Phoenix Suns are looking to keep the momentum going in Game 2.
Phoenix vs Bucks | Phoenix Looking to Keep the Heat on the Bucks
It was a well-rounded effort from all parties, as the Suns really received contributions from many avenues. Six out of the ten players who played in the game scored in double figures as Chris Paul led the way with 32 points, nine assists, and four rebounds. His backcourt mate, Devin Booker, poured in 27 points respectively, as he shot 8/21 from the field and a perfect 10/10 at the free throw line.
On the inside, big man Deandre Ayton patrolled the paint with 22 points and 19 rebounds. Even with the surprising availability of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Ayton was still as effective as ever.
Players like Mikal Bridges also contributed with 14 points, while Cameron Johnson and Cameron Payne put in 10 each as well.
From the Bucks‘ point of view, they started off the game well as it was close in the beginning stages of the opening period. What got them in trouble a little later in the game however was their defense. Chris Paul continuously knit picked specific matchups he liked and went to work.
In order for the Bucks to fix this, they are going to have to fight over screens and refuse to switch. Otherwise, the basketball IQ of Paul will put Milwaukee in a bind. If he does not shoot the ball himself, he will surely draw a double team and get an open look for his teammates.
As far as the Greek Freak goes, scoring 20 points and 17 rebounds is a pretty decent performance considering he was initially listed as doubtful heading into the game. What is most encouraging for Milwaukee was that he looked healthy and explosive like he usually does. Now that he has a game under his belt, I see him playing even better in Game 2.
Khris Middleton looked great as well, scoring 29 points, seven rebounds, and four assists while shooting 46% from the field. Jrue Holiday on the other hand had a disappointing performance as he only scored ten points. While he did have nine assists and seven rebounds, he was not as aggressive as he was down the stretch in the Eastern Conference Finals without Giannis.
Phoenix vs Bucks Game 2 Prediction
The Bucks are at their best when Middelton and Holiday are aggressive offensively. If one of them are passive, I do not see the Bucks winning Game 2, or any other game for that matter. Just as it is important to play stellar defense and make the offensive player work, you must punish your defenders on the other side of the floor and make them expend their energy.
It is safe to assume that Giannis will be Giannis, but the key for the Bucks to even up the series tomorrow night is the play of Middelton and Holiday.
After one game, Chris Paul has put Holiday in a major bind, and he must respond to show Paul that he is a pushover. I see Game 2 being closer than the opening game, but I still see Phoenix taking the victory.
The Suns are playing as confident as ever and their crowd is giving them a major lift. I do not see Milwaukee being able to overcome Phoenix’s home-court advantage.
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