Suns in Fo’? It’s still too early to entertain that thought even for the Phoenix Suns, but they’ll be gunning for win No. 2 in the 2021 NBA Finals when they play the Milwaukee Bucks at home for Game 2 of the series.
Catch this game live on Friday, July 9, at 9 AM, Manila time.
HOME TEAM: Phoenix Suns (1-0, 1-0 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Chris Paul
- SG: Devin Booker
- SF: Mikal Bridges
- PF: Jae Crowder
- C: Deandre Ayton
Deandre Ayton is a problem. Eyes will always be focused on Chris Paul and Devin Booker, but Ayton deserves lots of attention as well, especially after the effort he put up in Game 1. The former Arizona Wildcats manchild put up a monster double-double of 22 points and 19 rebounds.
He was the perfect complement to Paul and Booker, who torched the Bucks from the perimeter. Paul had 32 points, while Booker, despite going just 8 of 21 from the field, scored 27 points on the strength of a 10-of-10 performance at the charity stripe. The Suns had fun roasting Brook Lopez’s defense on switches, with Paul and Booker using their quickness to rattle the Bucks’ big man. Expect Phoenix to run those switch packages if the Bucks don’t find a good answer.
Speaking of free throws, the Suns shot 25 of 26 from the free throw line, while Milwaukee was only 9 of 16 in Game 1. Milwaukee has lots of adjustments to make in Game 2, and so far, it’s the Suns who are dictating how the series is being played out. The Suns are now 11-3 ATS in their last 14 games.
ROAD TEAM: Milwaukee Bucks (0-1, 0-1 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Jrue Holiday
- SG: Khris Middleton
- SF: PJ Tucker
- PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo
- C: Brook Lopez
Well, at least Giannis Antetokounmpo looked fine. He even scored the first points of the series and finished Game 1 with 20 points, 17 rebounds, and four assists in 35 minutes. He’s not yet 100% healthy, but it’s fair to expect Antetokounmpo to move better this Friday after taking another full day of rest. As mentioned earlier, the Bucks’ defense struggled mightily in the series opener, as evidenced by 18 personal fouls.
There’s an added pressure for Jrue Holiday as well after the way Paul got by him and made all those buckets in Game 1. Plus, he only scored 10 points on a salty 4-of-14 shooting from the field. Consistency is a big key here for the Bucks on both ends of the floor. They can’t play well on one end and poorly on the other, especially against the efficient machine that is the Suns, who have the second-best net rating in the playoffs.
Where the Bucks shined in Game 1 was behind the arc, as they knocked down 16 threes on 36 attempts. That’s a positive takeaway from the Bucks, who have shot 38.2 3FG% over their last three games. It’s also worth remembering that the Bucks lost both Game 1s in the second and third rounds of the playoffs. Milwaukee is 4-0 ATS after failing to cover the spread in the previous game.
Spread: The Bucks got toyed by Phoenix in Game 1, but with Antetokounmpo getting acclimated to playing again and with some adjustments, Milwaukee should make Game 2 a whole lot closer. Take the Bucks to cover (+5.5).
Over/Under: The Bucks’ offense flows better in Game 2, while the Suns continue to have success on their pick-and-rolls. Take the Over (219.5).