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NBA Conference Finals: Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks desperate to press home advantage

The NBA Conference Finals are well underway, but who will be heading to the Finals? Phoenix Suns currently have the edge over LA Clippers in the Western Conference Finals, while Milwaukee Bucks are hoping to close out the Eastern Conference Finals series against Atlanta Hawks. Read our preview to see how things could unfold.

Paul George keeps LA Clippers in the hunt against Phoenix Suns

Paul George tends to come into his own during the playoffs, and it was no different earlier this week. He delivered a playoff career-high performance in Game 5, dropping 41 points for the Clippers. They managed to stave off the Suns as they ran out 116-102 winners. George was 15-for-20 with his shooting, scoring 20 of his 41 points in the third quarter.

Along with his 41 points, George contributed 13 rebounds, six assists, and two steals. This left the Clippers with the bit between their teeth as they return to home court. Of course, the Clippers haven’t been immune to adversity. In Round 1, they were 3-2 down in the series against the Dallas Mavericks before pulling off a 4-3 victory.

Phoenix Suns desperate to close out series against LA Clippers

There will be some tension in the Suns camp as they seek to close out the series in the early hours of Thursday morning. Having waited 28 years to cement a Finals berth, they may have to wait at least a couple more days. Although Devin Booker (31 points), and Chris Paul (22 points) tried to seize back control against the Clippers, they were outplayed.

Monty Williams slates ‘unacceptable’ Phoenix Suns display

The Suns paid the price for a poor start in the first quarter of Game 5. The Clippers were the aggressors, and they dictated the pace of the game. Suns coach Monty Williams was fuming over his side’s ‘unacceptable’ display. Speaking after the defeat, he said: “It’s pretty obvious that we can’t play with a show-up mentality.”

Chris Paul urges Phoenix Suns to close out quarters better against LA Clippers

Paul couldn’t hide his disgust after what he described as an ‘uncharacteristic’ display by the Suns against the Clippers in Game 5. The Suns seemed to resemble the Clippers of Game 4. Paul identified what has been the Suns’ biggest shortcoming to date. He said: “We’ve got to close out quarters better. That’s been a problem for us all series long.”

Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to wreak havoc for Milwaukee Bucks

If there has been one player that has been an absolute force for the Milwaukee Bucks during their playoff campaign, then it would surely be Giannis Antetokounmpo. He’s been dominant throughout the playoff series, averaging more than 29 points per game. In his side’s 113-102 road win over Atlanta Hawks in Game 3 on Sunday night, Giannis weighed in with 33 points, and 11 rebounds.

It was another brilliant display from Giannis, and he was at 61.9% with his shooting. The Bucks haven’t lifted the NBA Championship since 1971, but Giannis has been a tour de force. Although Giannis is the go-to player, Khris Middleton was sensational in Game 3 against the Hawks, as he drained 38 points. He showed the Bucks don’t need to be over reliant on Giannis.

The Bucks have laid out their case to win the NBA Championship in painstaking detail, and there is great chemistry within the team when they are on the floor. Middleton has proved he can be a closer in the games, and, as Jrue Holiday succinctly pointed out: “It doesn’t matter who makes the play. Just as long as it’s made.”

Atlanta Hawks sweating on the fitness of Trae Young

Trae Young is vital to the Hawks’ hopes of overturning the series against the Bucks, and winning through to the NBA Finals. In Game 3, Young came off in the third quarter after spraining his ankle before heading straight for the locker room. An MRI scan later revealed that Young had a bruised bone in his foot.

At the time of writing, it left Young as a huge doubt for Game 4. But Hawks fans will be hoping that if Game 4 has come too soon for him, then Young will be fit for Game 5 on Thursday evening. It was no coincidence that when Young was taken off in Game 3, the Hawks crashed to defeat.

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