Bucks @ Suns NBA Finals Game 2 Prediction: Back Phoenix to stay hot
Will Suns stay hot before heading north, or will Bucks even things up before returning home...?
The Phoenix Suns kept rolling in Game 1 of the NBA Finals Tuesday with an 118-105 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
I have to admit, Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo looked a lot better than I thought he would. He shot 6-for-11, grabbed 17 rebounds, and had four assists and two steals, as well as a highlight-reel chase down block.
But it’s still clear that this isn’t Giannis’ peak form, the form that we saw in the previous two playoff series and the form that won him two MVP awards. He attempted the fourth most shots on the team, seven short of the 18 field goal attempts he averaged during the regular season.
Khris Middleton answered the call though, scoring 29 points. Brook Lopez gave them a spark offensively, scoring 17 points on 50 percent shooting, including 3-of-5 from three. But the other two members of the starting five didn’t have much impact.
Jrue Holiday finished with nine assists and seven rebounds but shot an abysmal 4-of-14 for 10 points, while P.J. Tucker had seven.
The Suns are making Milwaukee play their style of basketball, slow half-court sets. Giannis is the best when he’s in transition or has a head of steam going to the hoop. They know he’s not going to be leading many fast breaks and will have to defend his position on the other end of the floor.
The Bucks found some success when they went small in the second half, but it took one of their better scorers off the floor, as Lopez only played seven second-half minutes. That will likely leave Giannis to defend Ayton more in Game 2, if Mike Budenholzer continues to utilize the “small” lineup.
On the flip side, Chris Paul continues to play at an extremely high level, leading all scorers with 32 points, 21 coming in the second half. If you have a Finals MVP ticket for Paul, you'll be encouraged to know he has become the betting favorite for the award.
What surprised me the most about Game 1 was that the Suns were able to keep the Bucks at bay, despite not being particularly efficient. Jae Crowder couldn’t buy a bucket, going 0-for-8, and Devin Booker shot just 8-for-21 and 1-for-8 from three.
I think it is important to note that the Suns will be without Dario Saric for the remainder of the NBA Finals after tearing his ACL in less than three minutes on the floor. The Suns attempted to put in Frank Kaminsky to give Ayton a bit of a breather, but looked lost and couldn’t rebound. They played him for just 3 minutes and 53 seconds before deciding to play Ayton 38:44.
I think the foul calls will even out, but I don’t think you’ll have shooting nights from Booker and Crowder like that again, so I still like the Suns -200 tonight.
For our prop of the night, I’m targeting Brook Lopez under 13.5 points. He got off to a hot start in Game 1 and has shown the ability to make consecutive 3-pointers, but I think his floor time will be limited and less than what we’ve seen in some of the previous series.