Pressure mounts on Bucks as Suns take Game 2
After taking the Eastern Conference, the Milwaukee Bucks find themselves in a rather precarious position after coming off their Arizona road trip down 0 - 2 to the Phoenix Suns in this season’s NBA Finals.
Even with the unexpected return of Giannis Antetokounmpo in Game 1 of the finals after he missed games five and six of the Eastern Conference Finals due to a knee injury, the Bucks still lost by 13 points to a Suns team that was just too fast and composed for them.
A better showing by the team was expected in Game 2, but however, even with a virtuoso performance the two-time MVP which saw him score 42 points, grab 12 rebounds, dish four assists, and pull off three blocks and one steal, Milwaukee lost 108 -118.
Giannis had a career-high and the highest scoring finals quarter (20 points), since 1996. However, with less that great showings from his supporting cast, they could not pull off a win on the road.
He become the first player to score at least 20 points in a Finals’ quarter since Michael Jordan scored 22 in 1993, but it was not enough to overcome the Suns.
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said: “I think there's feedback between him and myself and the sports performance (team). I think he's in a pretty good place. Obviously conditioning-wise, to take -- first of all, to have the injury, and then to have five days, six days, whatever it was, before Game 1. But he wants to be out there. It's hard -- I think he understands and I think he'll be better going into Game 3, his conditioning, everything. I think he want us to lean on him hard. He wants as much responsibility as we can give him, and that's part of what makes him great.”
For the winning Phoenix squad, Devin Booker got 31 points, Chris Paul added 23 points and eight assists in the team’s back-to-back finals game win.
Suns coach Monty Williams commented: “The thing about Devin, he shoots the same way first quarter, fourth quarter, doesn't matter, his shot looks the same. That's a guy that's put a ton of work in his shot, but the mentality, he's calm in those moments. So, we're grateful for those contributions in those moments.”
The Suns have taken a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, winning both of their home games, before the series shifts to Milwaukee for Games 3 and 4.
“It's always good to play at home in front of your fans. But trying not to think about that right now. Just trying to think about what we have to do to put ourselves in a position to win, what I got to do, what the team got to do. We've got to watch the clips. We took a step toward the right direction but we have to keep getting better. We have to keep getting better in order for us to put ourselves in a position to win this series. But we're going to figure it out,” said Giannis.
Game 3 will be in Milwaukee in the early hours of Monday morning for African fans.