The Bucks went down 118-105 in Game 1 of the NBA finals on Wednesday but the good news is that Giannis Antetokounmpo made a return from what looked like a serious knee injury just last week. He lodged 35 minutes in Game 1 and finished with 20 points / 17 rebounds. So he should be fitter and play more minutes in Game 2, especially with the Bucks looking to avoid losing back to back games. Jrue Holiday was coming off some nice form against the Hawks but struggled in Game 1 with just 10 points and went 4 of 18. That can be mainly explained by the return of Giannis as his usage drops. But he did finish with 9 assists and will look to continue getting the ball into Middleton’s hands. Middleton took the majority of shots on offence, going 12 of 26 from the field and he hit 5 threes. However, he’ll need to take care of the Basketball in Game 2 after giving up 5 of the Bucks 13 turnovers.
Chris Paul waited 16 years to reach the NBA finals and his first game of this series did not disappoint. He simply outplayed the Bucks with 32 points and 9 assists. He finished 12 of 19 from the field and hit 4 of 7 three-point attempts. He’s now averaging 36.5 points in his last 2 games so he’s definitely on a mission to get that ring. In Game 1, he was well supported by Devin Booker and his 27 points. He wouldn’t be happy with hitting just 1 three from 8 attempts so that’s an area to improve on as the series progresses. Ayton has also been impressive throughout the Suns’ playoff run and he continued that form in Game 1 with 22 points and 19 rebounds. The victory was soured by a suspected ACL injury for Dario Saric and he’ll unfortunately miss the rest of the series. So the likes of Cam Johnson and Cam Payne will get a bit more minutes off the bench.
The Suns handled the Bucks in Game 1 by a 13 point margin and that was basically on the back of a superb performance Chris Paul. Obviously, Giannis is just returning from injury so he should be able to warm into this series, especially when they play in front of their home crowd in Milwaukee. However, Chris Paul is simply on fire at the moment and we can’t see the Bucks slowing him down on his home court. He has easily cleared 25+ points in his last 2 playoff games and that 25+ point mark looks great value in Friday’s matchup.
Phoenix holds a 21-3 record on their home court. The Bucks 2-4 at this venue in their last 6 games.
Head to Head Record
The Suns won the first game of this series 118-105 and have now won 6 of the last 7 meetings.
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