Booker Bashes the Bucks|Phoenix Vs Milwaukee|Finals Game 2

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Updated: July 9, 2021
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After the Suns’ offense looked like it was on cruise control for most of game 1, the question would be what type of adjustments the Bucks would make for game 2 in Phoenix. On the offensive end, Milwaukee would surely need more from their offseason acquisition Jrue Holiday, if their hopes for the title would have a chance at fruition.

In the first quarter, it appeared the latter question was answered, with Holiday coming out aggressive looking for his. Giannis continued to look healthy and fresh with fearless attacks to the rim with no concern for the previously injured knee. Fortunately for the Suns, a Jae Crowder who was 0-8 from the field in game 1 had appeared to have arrived and begun the game hitting J’s with Cam Johnson. If the others of Phoenix would continue to stroke open jumpers from deep, it would continue to be an uphill climb for Bud and the Bucks trying to stop the constant ball movement of the Suns.

Both teams came out with intensity, but the Bucks appeared to come out the more desperate team. Time would tell if this level of urgency would be sustainable. With Cam Payne coming into the game, the pace and level of attack cranked up as the Suns took their first lead of the night with a minute left in the 1st. But the Bucks took it back before the quarter’s end and we would go into the 2nd 29-26.

Only 3 minutes into the 2nd, and Holiday had already taken 11 shots in comparison to the 9 he took in the entirety of Game 1, unfortunately, most of them were not falling. Booker continued to penetrate and kick as Cam Johnson appeared to be on automatic from the wide-open corner 3. A very different game from the 1st one, with Phoenix not getting to the line, but that didn’t stop Booker and Mikal Bridges to lead a 17-point swing and 7-point lead with 3 minutes left in the half. Milwaukee’s offense started to look stagnant as the ball continued to move for Phoenix who took an 11-point lead going into halftime.

The first half was dictated by the big shot-making from the Suns. 11 3’s for Phoenix and only 4 for the Bucks, Milwaukee would need to make their open shots if they would have a chance to handle this series. The Suns had been 12 and 0 during these playoffs when holding a double-digit lead. Would the Bucks have what it took to break this impress clutch streak?

Giannis was determined to not go quietly as he continued to force himself to the line. A lead that had ballooned to 15 was cut down to 5 after a Middleton 3. But as Antetokounmpo continued to get to the line he also continued to leave free points at the stripe. As the Bucks defense had just got a handle on the ball movement of Phoenix, the pure isolation talent of Booker and CP3 continued to drive them forward. Even with the persistence of Giannis’ head down attack into the paint and a record 20 points in the 3rd for the playoffs these last 25 years, his Bucks went into the 4th down 10.

In the last play in the 3rd, Giannis annihilated Tory Craig with an offensive foul, running through him as their knees collided. Craig needed assistance to get to the locker room, and with Šarić already out for the series with the torn ACL, the Suns continue to get thinner and thinner in the frontcourt.

Milwaukee stormed the gate in the opening minutes of the 4th cutting the lead in half down to 5. The clouds quickly cleared in the noisy desert though as the Suns brightened the skies and pushed the lead back to double digits. Giannis and the Bucks would string together another run and with 4 and a half remaining, both squads would head into the timeout of game 2 of the NBA Finals only separated by two possessions. Out of the timeout, Ayton continued to put his impact on display with a huge offensive rebound on one end and a block on the other side of the floor with the lead pushed back to 11.

After more free throws, down 10, it was Bucks ball with only 51 seconds left in the game. But as the foul game was put into action, the clock’s seconds ticked away for the end of game 2. Although there were moments in the Giannis runs that led to his 42 point effort, the collective performance of the Phoenix Suns looks too much for Milwaukee. With 23 from Paul, a huge 31 from Booker, and an outside outing of 27 and 7 from Mikal Bridges, Milwaukee should start their nightly prayers heading back to Wisconsin that the young Suns won’t duplicate these types of performances on the road.

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