NBA preview: Finals

NBA Finals: Milwaukee Bucks hoping to seal the deal against Phoenix Suns

Only a week ago, it seemed scarcely believable that the Milwaukee Bucks would still be alive in the series. However, they have dug themselves out of a deep hole, and lead 3-2 in the series heading into Game 6 against the Phoenix Suns. Can they clinch an unlikely series win or will it all boil down to Game 7? We will find out soon.

Jrue Holiday and Giannis Antetokounmpo combine to devastating effect for Milwaukee Bucks

The roots of the comeback started for the Bucks in Game 3 where they enjoyed a blowout 120-100 victory. Key players have stepped up at crucial times for the Bucks, and this was underlined in the 123-119 victory over the Suns last weekend. In the dying seconds of Game 5, Jrue Holiday grabbed a big steal, and Giannis Antetokounmpo obliged with a stunning slam dunk.

It has been a pulsating series to date, and the Bucks have found themselves at times on the ropes, but the Suns haven’t landed the killer punch. The Bucks were trailing by 16 points in Game 5 before they exploded for 43 points in the second quarter. It is the Bucks’ mental resolve that has helped them turn it around in the series.

Milwaukee Bucks closing in on history

The Bucks are looking to chart their own path to success. They are aiming to become only the fourth team in NBA Finals history to overturn a 2-0 deficit and win a series, and there could still be plenty of twists and turns. But if they can come through in Game 6, the Bucks will lift the NBA Championship for the first time since 1971.

‘Humble’ Giannis puts in another monster display for the Bucks

While it may seem like a one-man show at times, Giannis won’t see it like that. Indeed, before Game 5, he tried to deflect any attention away from himself, rather than boost his own ego. He said: “I kind of try to focus on the moment, in the present. That’s humility.”

Mike Budenholzer’s future to be decided by Bucks after the NBA Finals

The Bucks could clinch their first NBA title in 50 years, but the more pressing matter concerns the future of coach Mike Budenholzer. Currently, Budenholzer has one year left to run on his existing deal, but talks have been put on hold. When asked about retaining Budenholzer’s surfaces, Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry said: “We’ll deal with it at the end of the year.”

Can the Phoenix Suns take it to Game 7?

For the first time in the postseason, the Suns are in grave danger of facing elimination. It seemed like they were cruising to the NBA Championship when they surged into a 2-0 series lead. Chris Paul appeared to be unstoppable, and Giannis was cast in the shadow. How times have changed since then.

Now, it is a case of how the Suns regroup after letting a 2-0 series lead slip. Suns coach Monty Williams was rather matter of fact when analyzing his side’s performance after Game 5. He said: “We got to win one game to put them back on the plane.” Nevertheless, the Suns will take solace from Devin Booker’s displays.

Booker has been the Suns’ savior at times, as well as a model of consistency. He followed up his 42-point showing in Game 4 with another rasping display by draining 40 points in Game 5. In doing so, he created an unenviable record of becoming the first player to score 40 points or more in back-to-back games, but then end up on the losing side.

Phoenix Suns have to leave everything on the line

The Suns can ill afford another slip-up, otherwise it will be costly. The class of 2021 don’t want to be remembered as the side that choked and squandered a brilliant opportunity. It is very much a case of leaving blood, sweat, and tears on the court, and seeing what happens. Paul summed it up perfectly after Game 5.

He said: “Everything we want is on the other side of hard, and it don’t get harder than this.” Although Paul had just one turnover in Game 5, he posted 21 points, and he was 9-for-15 with his shooting stats. The Bucks, of course, have the wind in their sails, and if it goes to Game 7, this series could go either way.

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