The Phoenix Suns staved off a late-game comeback from the Milwaukee Bucks to pull out a win in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Huge performances from Chris Paul (32 points, nine assists), Devin Booker (27 points, six assists) and Deandre Ayton (22 points, 19 rebounds), lifted the Suns to a win over a Bucks team that tried to climb back into the game after falling behind by as much as 20 points. Ultimately though, Milwaukee didn’t get enough help from anyone outside of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton to compete against the high-powered offense that the Suns brought in Game 1.
It’s going to take more out of Milwaukee’s depth to keep up with Phoenix, because the Suns don’t show any signs of slowing down on either side of the floor. Here’s everything you need to know about Game 2 of the NBA Finals between the Suns and Bucks.
(2) Phoenix Suns vs. (3) Milwaukee Bucks
Date: Thursday, July 8 | Time: 9 p.m. ET
Location: Phoenix Suns Arena — Phoenix, Arizona
TV: ABC | Live stream: fuboTV
Odds: MIL +185; PHO -215 | O/U: 220.5
Suns: Phoenix came out of the gates incredibly strong in Game 1, and although the Bucks tried to keep it close it never really felt like the Suns were in jeopardy of losing that game. Although Paul led the Suns in scoring, the story of the night was Ayton’s dominance on both ends of the floor. Ayton’s presence on the floor will remain a storyline throughout the rest of this series, because as Milwaukee focuses heavily on Paul and Booker, Ayton will see more opportunities. So far, he’s taken advantage of those opportunities, as well as creating some for himself off of offensive boards and he’ll need to continue doing that to give the Suns an edge.
Bucks: If there was any concern about how Giannis would look in Game 1, those were quickly dashed when the final buzzer sounded, as he elevated for alley-oops, hustled for a phenomenal chase-down block and asserted his physical dominance in the paint on both ends. He started slow but finished strong, and the key going into the next game will be getting Giannis going earlier in the game. The other important key for the Bucks going into Game 2 is getting more help on offense out of role players like PJ Tucker, Bryn Forbes and Pat Connaughton. Jrue Holiday also needs to perform drastically better on offense. Holiday went just 4-for-14 from the floor and missed all four of his 3-point attempts. While the Bucks acquired him last offseason for the upgrade he provides on the defensive end and his ability to run an offense, he also needs to start knocking down shots.
Giannis looked surprisingly good for a guy who just hyperextended his knee just last week. If he’s able to play at the same level or even better than what he did in Game 1 going forward then Milwaukee should feel good about their chances in the rest of the series. I think after making adjustments and a bigger emphasis on getting everyone involved on offense the Bucks tie the series up before heading back to Milwaukee. Pick: Bucks +5.5