Giannis Dominates The Suns Lack Of Size

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Updated: July 12, 2021
giannis game 3

Down 2-0, Milwaukee came into a must-win game at home hungry. No team in the history of the league has come back 3-0 to win 4 straight for a title. Assuming that trend continues, if Phoenix was able to come away with the win tonight, the series would be over. Even with the live desperation from the Bucks, their intensity was matched my CP3 and the Suns. Phoenix made it an emphasis on the offensive end to get Ayton touches early after his quiet 10-point performance in game 2. On the other side, there were no signs of Giannis’ knee worsening throughout the series as many had been concerned with as he continued to drive and facilitate.

With Ayton already having more points in the first quarter than in the whole previous game, the Suns went into the 2nd up 3. Halfway through the 2nd, Antetokounmpo continued to apply pressure on Phoenix inside. His fear of the line appeared to be diminished as Giannis hit his 4th of 6th from the stripe to make it 42-38. They continued to pour it on inside and forced a Suns’ timeout with 4 minutes left in the quarter down 50-42.

Milwaukee’s defense continued to fuel their ability to score in transition. With their largest lead in the series, the Bucks went up 15 points to close out the quarter. Coach Bud who has been continuously ridiculed for his lack of adjustments opted to use Bobby Portis who injected Milwaukee with extra juice on the boards. But above all else, it was the Bucks ball movement that made their baskets seem effortless. The Suns were simply being outworked, as the final 9 minutes of the half splits were 30 to 9 in Milwaukee’s favor.

As it has been said many times throughout the post-season, it’s a make-or-miss league, and the Suns simply had not made many in the first half. Would their shooting, specifically Devin Booker, only 2-11 thus far come alive? With Giannis’ relentlessness to the rim, Ayton picked up his 4th foul early in the 3rd. Forced to pull him off the floor, the Suns opted to go small, with Cam Johnson and Crowder in the frontcourt. With Antetokounmpo and Lopez at the 4/5 for Milwaukee, Phoenix was giving up tremendous size inside. To compensate for the size disparity, Monte Morris went back to the zone which Giannis continued to attack.

The Suns’ offense looked stale until Cam Johnson woke up Phoenix with a poster jam which baptized PJ Tucker at the rim starting a 7-0 run cutting the lead to 6. Both teams continued to score, but the Bucks seemed to have a handle on the zone and continued to dominate the boards with their giants crashing the glass. They closed the quarter with a 16-0 run to extend their lead to 22 showing the impact of a homecourt advantage. Jrue Holiday finally came along for the ride scoring 20 through 3 to add to Giannis’ monstrous 30 points. In the last 25 years only Air Jordan, King James, and the Slim Reaper have had 30 points, 10 boards, and 5 assists through 3 quarters in a Finals game. An elite company that Giannis was able to join tonight with his dominating performance, and ability to consistently score at the free-throw line.

The 4th quarter was just a formality. The Suns attempted to push back but failed to put a dent in the enormous deficit created in the 3rd. The game ended in garage time with the scrubs on the floor to close out a 20-point blowout.The home-court advantage appears to be an impactful variable in the equation for both franchises as the series continues in Milwaukee at 2-1 with a lot of basketball left. As commanding as the Suns looked in Phoenix, the Bucks demolished CP3 and Booker who continued to struggle from the floor. The lack of size for the Suns finally started to show with the 4 early fouls on Ayton, which seemed to be a part of the Bucks game plan and surely will be an emphasis moving forward with Phoenix’s lack of depth at the 5.

If Phoenix can steal one on the road this Wednesday they should be able to close the series out with ease, but if Antetokounmpo can hit his free throws and the Bucks can head back to the Valley tied 2-2 it’s anybody’s series.

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