Bucks Suns Matchup Preview
The Milwaukee Bucks are up 3-2 on the Phoenix Suns through five games of this NBA Finals. Surprisingly, Milwaukee has won three straight games and plotted an improbable comeback after falling 0-2 after the first two games in Phoenix. The Suns have not looked nearly as efficient, and the Bucks’ defense has harassed them these past three games. Phoenix will need to secure a road win in Milwaukee if it wants to continue playing for a shot at a title. Suddenly, the tides have shifted, and Milwaukee is in the driver’s seat for the first time this series.
Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday stepped up in a big way in Game 5, with Middleton scoring 29 and Holiday scoring 27. Meanwhile, Devin Booker had another impressive 40 point game as he tried to will Phoenix to a Game 5 home win but came up short. Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton also had 21 and 20 points, respectively.
Game 6 will be the most crucial one yet. If the Phoenix Suns can sneak out a road win in Milwaukee, then I think they will have no problem securing a Game 7 win at home. For the Bucks, they desperately need to close out this series at home in Game 6. They are in a great position, but if Phoenix somehow wins, I don’t like their odds of winning two road games in one series against such a great team in the Suns.
For odds movement and full matchup history, visit the Phoenix Suns vs Milwaukee Bucks Matchup Page.
Time: 9:00 PM ET
Arena: Fiserv Forum – Milwaukee, WI
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Bucks Starting 5
Milwaukee Bucks Analysis
The Bucks are putting together a series of iconic moments from this NBA Finals series, and it just feels like they might be destined to win at this point. Giannis had that superhuman block on Deandre Ayton after recovering from soft-hedging a screen in Game 4. Many people likened the impossibility of the block to LeBron James’s chase-down block in Game 7 when Cleveland came back from a 3-1 deficit. Most recently, in Game 5, the Bucks were up one point with a little over 20 seconds left, but Phoenix had the ball. Jrue Holiday ripped the ball away from Devin Booker, dribbled down the floor, and threw a dangerous alley-oop to Giannis, who was rim-running. Giannis slammed the alley-oop and got fouled. In theory, the smart play would have been to back the ball out and force Phoenix to foul him, but Jrue Holiday had other things planned.
Giannis has been nothing short of a Finals MVP for the Milwaukee Bucks. He is recovering from a hyperextended knee, which he injured not too long ago, and is still playing some of the best basketball of his life in these Finals. After five games, he is averaging 32.2 points, 13 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game on 61.2% shooting from the field. These are some spectacular numbers for anybody, let alone someone who still may not be 100% recovered from his injury. He has struggled mightily at times from the charity stripe, so he has to get that under control. Otherwise, Phoenix may foul him even more over the next game or two.
The catalyst for the Bucks, in my opinion, was when the team saw the heart that Giannis displayed in their Game 2 loss against Phoenix on the road. This heroic effort helped rally his team to successfully rattle off three straight wins. There’s no doubt in my mind that Giannis scoring 42 points and leaving his all on the floor lit a fire under Milwaukee.
Additionally, Khris Middleton has answered the call of being a star in this NBA Finals, as well. In his past two games, he has scored 40 points and 29 points. He continues to be someone who steps up when needed the most, especially in later games in a series.
Jrue Holiday also played exceptionally well in Game 5, scoring 27 points with 13 assists. This will be the level that the Bucks need Holiday to play for the rest of the series if they want to wrap this up in either one of the following two games. Holiday has had some shooting struggles in previous games, as he is just a bit over 39% from the field through five games of this series, but his tenacious defensive effort more than makes up for it.
Altogether, I’m expecting Middleton, Giannis, and Jrue to step up for Game 6 at home. They know that winning a second road game in Phoenix during a Game 7 will be challenging, so I’m sure they would like to wrap this up at home.
Suns Starting 5
Phoenix certainly has its work cut out to take this series to a Game 7. It’s crazy how quickly a series can shift in momentum and position. Despite losing two straight games in Milwaukee, the Suns were still in a solid position considering that two of their next three games would be played at home. However, since they could not secure a Game 5 win at home, they now have to go on the road to Milwaukee and win to avoid elimination.
Devin Booker has secured back-to-back 40 point games after a lackluster Game 3, where he only had ten points. In those last two games, Phoenix has lost by six points and four points. There’s not much more offensively that Booker can do, so other players will have to step up and score. Last game, Chris Paul had 21 points, and Deandre Ayton had 20, which you would think would be enough. However, the bench players only scored 15 total points, and the Suns gave up way too many points on the defensive end.
The Suns need to dig deep and find a way to win on the road in Milwaukee. So far, in these playoffs, teams have not had much success winning in Fiserv Forum as the Bucks have won nine of their ten home games. However, if the Suns can come up with a road win in Game 6, their championship likelihood will increase substantially as they have Game 7 at home.
Suns vs. Bucks Betting Odds
At this point, ATS records matter a bit less than they usually do. This is a “win or go home” scenario for Phoenix, and the Suns will not want to end such an incredible season on a sour note.
As for the Bucks, they can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and they will want to rally around support at home to wrap this up in Game 6. They will have absolutely no interest in going back to Phoenix for a Game 7.
The stakes of this game are higher than any other game of the season, and for obvious reasons. It should be a close game, but Milwaukee has been virtually unbeatable at home during the playoffs with a 9-1 record. Additionally, the Bucks seem to be close to maximizing their potential with this roster. This should be the game when the Bucks tie everything together and take home the trophy. Stick with the Milwaukee Bucks for this Game 6 matchup.
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