Former NBA Champion Explains How the Milwaukee Bucks Can Avoid Defeat in NBA Finals Game 3 vs Phoenix Suns

Published 07/09/2021, 10:40 PM EDT
Jul 6, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) reacts against the Phoenix Suns during the first half in game one of the 2021 NBA Finals at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports


Milwaukee Bucks are in a delicate situation, facing a possible 0-3 deficit and making it a one-sided final. The last time a team won the first three NBA Finals games was in 2018 when the Warriors washed out LeBron James’ Cavaliers.

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The Bucks, who were able to read the Hawks’ offense so much better, are failing to replicate it against the Suns. If their performance in Game 2 is anything to consider, they seem to lack confidence, especially in the clutch moments. So how can Giannis Antetokounmpo ensure they get their first finals win?

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Former NBA Champion cautions Milwaukee Bucks

In the Bucks’ last last three games, one thing was common, the teams scoring exactly ‘118 points’ won the game. Firstly, the deers eliminated the Hawks 118-107 and then took two (105-118 & 108-118) losses against the Suns. Perhaps 3x NBA Champion and then a 3-year Bulls head coach, Bill Cartwright, noted this pattern well. 

In a recent telephonic interview, the 63-YO expressed, “We gotta really admire both those teams and I really do because they did the things the right way during the course of the year. They stayed healthy, they played their guys… Now, it’s just be them to figure out who’s gonna play best in these last few games left in the season. The hardest thing about winning the championship is getting there. While you’re there, let’s go ahead and win. It’s gonna be really interesting… How you’re gonna play [indiscernible] defense, if you’re gonna block, getting a rebound, get in a transition, if we see another 118 point game, it’s bad news…”

Interestingly, it was only once, against the Nets, that the Bucks had allowed a score above 117 before the finals began.

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How can the underdogs stop the Phoenix Suns?

In their offensive and defensive ratings, both the Bucks and the Suns are neck to neck this season. However, in the last two games, it has been the Suns’ offense that is bothering their opponents like nothing else. 

Game 2 saw Devin Booker dropping 7 threes in 12 attempts. He was especially lethal in the last quarter where he had no problem scoring over 7-footer Brook Lopez. Overall, the confident shooting of the Suns had them out-shooting the Bucks by 11 made threes. 

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Jul 8, 2021; Jae Crowder steals the ball away from P.J. Tucker and Brook Lopez during game 2 at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Apparently, with exception of Pat Cannoughton and Giannis Antetokounmpo, none of the deers showed a fire to grab rebounds and take chances. Khris Middleton looked rusty and under confident while Jrue Holiday stayed stuck in double teams.

If this pattern continues, Sir Bill Cartwright’s concern can take a real shape. Do you see the Suns scoring 117+ in Game 3? Help us know in the comments below.

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Watch this story – Best of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Devin Booker from Game 2

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Sourabh Singh

1449 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

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