Will Giannis Antetokounmpo & Chris Paul Play? Milwaukee Bucks vs Phoenix Suns Game 2: Prediction, Injuries and Lineups

Published 07/07/2021, 10:31 PM EDT
Jul 6, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) plays for the ball against Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder (99) and forward Mikal Bridges (25) during the first half in game one of the 2021 NBA Finals at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt York/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports


The Suns, before coming to the NBA Finals, had beaten the Milwaukee Bucks twice in the regular season in one-point thrillers. That result continued in Game 1 with the exception that it was never a close game. The Bucks trailed from the ninth minute and never really bounced back, resulting in an easy Suns win.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo was impressive from the defensive end, especially with that monster chasedown block on Mikal Bridges. However, coming off the injury, he was not as physical as the Bucks needed him to be. As a result, there was no stopping the Suns offense that kept getting better as the night matured.

So now what are the expectations from Game 2?

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Milwaukee Bucks vs Phoenix Suns: Injury updates and lineup prediction

The injury reports, fortunately, are mostly clean and small for both the contending teams. The Bucks have only Donte DiVincenzo on the list after the shooting guard’s foot surgery to repair his torn ligament forced him out of the season. It is good to see how Giannis made a very quick recovery from his hyperextended knee. 

Probable starting lineup – Giannis Antetokounmpo (F), PJ Tucker (F), Brook Lopez (C), Khris Middleton (G), and Jrue Holiday (G)

Jul 6, 2021; Giannis Antetokounmpo moves to the basket against Deandre Ayton during the first half in game one of the 2021 NBA Finals at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

For the Suns, a memorable Game 1 led to one loss in Dario Saric. The power forward had played for just 2 minutes and contributed a rebound when he injured his right knee. The 27-YO Croatian limped off the floor and it turned out to be an ACL tear.

Potential starting five – Jae Crowder (F), Mikal Bridges (F), DeAndre Ayton (C), Devin Booker (G), and Chris Paul (G)

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Who wins?

After Chris Paul’s Game 6 against the Clippers and the 32-point night against the Bucks, it is harder to see the Bucks finding answers. All of a sudden, CP3 is scoring like his Pelican days and a 36-YO doing that puts a big question mark on the opposing team. 

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Also as an unpopular opinion, it feels that the Bucks (as a unit) play harder and better when Giannis Antetokounmpo is out. The way Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, and Brook Lopez played in those last couple of games against the Hawks, it all somehow faded against the Suns. 

Although the Bucks outrebounded the Suns in Game 1, they failed at free throw shooting. Similarly, even as they shot much better from the three-point range, the Suns were a force from inside the paint. CP3 and his mid-range jumpers combined with DeAndre’s use of glass gave the Suns an edge.

But all said and done, Giannis played his first 35 minutes after seven days and he can improvise to become a match-winner in Game 2. So we predict a Bucks win even as every odds suggest against it.

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Sourabh Singh

1435 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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