NBA Finals: Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns locked in titanic battle
The NBA Finals series is intensifying, and we still don’t know which way it will go. After pulling away in Game 3 to reduce the series deficit to 2-1, the Bucks will be hoping they have turned a corner. However, can they pull off a great escape, and be crowned champions? We will try to answer this, as well as gauge the latest match odds.
Giannis Antetokounmpo explodes for Milwaukee Bucks in blowout victory over the Phoenix Suns
Only a few weeks ago, it seemed that Giannis Antetokounmpo had a season-threatening injury that would rule him out of the NBA Finals. Although he was firmly in the shadow of the Suns’ Chris Paul in Games 1 and 2, Giannis was at his imperious best on his home court in Game 3. The two-time MVP (Most Valued Player) winner drained 41 points.
It was very much a make-or-break game for the Bucks. Had they lost, they would have had a huge hole to climb out of. But Giannis produced a scintillating display as he went 13 of 17 from the line, and he also weighed in with 13 assists. Moreover, he produced back-to-back 40-point Finals games as the Bucks stormed to a blowout 120-100 victory on Sunday.
- Milwaukee Bucks to win Game 4 @-186 with Casumo
- Total Points including Overtime Over 220.5 @-112 with Casumo
Milwaukee Bucks hoping to make their own history in NBA Finals
After taking Game 3, the Milwaukee Bucks harbour hopes of staging a brilliant comeback. In NBA Finals history, only four teams have recovered from going 2-0 down in the series. Among those that have successfully managed to clawback a deficit was the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016 when LeBron James was named Finals MVP. The Bucks are now ready to carve their own bit of history.
Milwaukee Bucks pick things up in the paint
Although the Bucks were heavily outscored in Games 1 and 2, they turned things around in Game 3. The Bucks put their foot on the gas, and they were lethal in the second and third quarters. By scoring a combined 73 points across the second and third quarters, the Bucks were simply unstoppable, and they gave the Suns a taste of their own medicine.
Can Giannis reach Michael Jordan GOAT levels for the Bucks?
As mentioned, Giannis managed back-to-back 40 point games in the Finals, and he became only the sixth player to achieve that feat. However, he has some way to go to match Michael Jordan’s run of four straight 40-point games for the Chicago Bulls against the Suns in the 1993 NBA Finals. Giannis has it in him to emulate Jordan, but it would take something extraordinary.
Suns star Deandre Ayton has to address foul issue
While the Bucks were effective around the paint, Deandre Ayton was the Suns’ biggest culprit on the foul’s front. Indeed, he was saddled with five fouls before he was hooked off. Suns coach Monty Williams bemoaned the refereeing, but point guard Chris Paul empathised with Ayton. He said: “Sometimes, you’re going to get a good whistle, while sometimes you’re going to get a bad whistle.”
Williams, meanwhile, thinks it was a hard lesson for Ayton, but backed him to emerge stronger from it. He said: “We got to beat guys to the sport. He’ll grow from this, I promise you he will.” While there were some gripes about the officiating, the Suns have to get the basics right and do what they did best in Game 1 and Game 2.
- Devin Booker to score Over 37.5 points in Game 4 for Suns @-117 with Casumo
- Chris Paul to provide Over 8.5 assists in Game 4 for Suns @-113 with Casumo
Although the Suns crumbled in Game 3, the resurgence of the Bucks was clear for all to see. Cries of “Bucks in 6! Bucks in 6!” reverberated around the stadium. Whether the Bucks can reel off the next three games remains to be seen. Nevertheless, the Game 3 result was the perfect pick-me-up for the Bucks.
Devin Booker goes missing in Game 3 for the Suns
If there is one player that the Suns can rely on, then it is Devin Booker. However, in Game 3, he was largely anonymous. He had an off night as he scored just 10 points, and his overall figures made for grim reading. Booker was 3-of-14 shooting (21.4%), and he struggled with his three-pointer attempts making just 1 of 7.
Williams admitted that Booker suffered in Game 3 as the Bucks channelled their aggression onto the Suns’ star. Although the Suns will be on the road again for Game 4, there is no need to press the panic button just yet. However, they must tame Giannis and co, otherwise, it is conceivable the series could go right down to the wire.
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