Phoenix Suns vs Milwaukee Bucks 3/6/22: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds, Live Stream

Phoenix Suns vs Milwaukee Bucks Matchup Preview (3/6/22)

The Phoenix Suns (51-12) travel to face off against the Milwaukee Bucks (39-25) Sunday afternoon in a rematch of the 2021 Finals. The Suns are 3-2 since Chris Paul’s injury with the 10th Offensive Rating and 6th Defensive Rating. However, those three wins came against the Thunder, Trail Blazers, and Knicks, who have a combined 70-118 (.372) record. The Suns are coming off a thrilling last second win over the struggling New York Knicks even though Chris Paul and Devin Booker did not play. Cameron Johnson banked in a three point shot at the buzzer to complete the comeback. The Knicks were up 12 points entering the 4th quarter, but the Suns caught them in the end. Johnson was electric with 38 points off the bench on 9/12 from three. Cameron Payne filled Paul’s shoes perfectly through 17 points and 16 assists. Mikal Bridges helped pick up the scoring slack by producing 20 points on 54.5 FG%. Julius Randle played well for the Knicks – 25 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists – but they went full Knicks mode and threw away the game. Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and Cameron Johnson are all out for this game against the Bucks. Cameron Payne and Landry Shamet will start in place of Paul and Booker. 

The Bucks are riding an impressive 3-game winning streak with wins over the Hornets, Heat, and Bulls. Over that stretch, they are 6th in both Offensive and Defensive Rating. The Bucks struggled defensively in February, but they have shown some life the last few games. Against the Bulls, the Bucks faced a seven point deficit entering the 4th quarter. They dominated down the stretch and ended up winning 118-112. Giannis was his brilliant self with 34 points, 16 rebounds, and 5 assists on 54.5 FG%. Jrue Holiday scored 26 points, and Khris Middleton had an all-around game – 22 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists. The Bulls could have won this game, but DeMar DeRozan shooting 11/30 essentially buried them. LaVine and Vucevic played well and shot efficiently from the field. The lack of size really showed for the Bulls; they were -16 in total rebounds and couldn’t stop the Bucks in the paint. For this game against the Suns, George Hill, Pat Connaughton, Wesley Matthews, and Brook Lopez are all out.

Phoenix Suns vs Milwaukee Bucks Betting Odds

The Suns dominated the Bucks 131-107 in their only matchup on February 10th. However, the Suns had Paul produce 17 points and 19 assists, while Booker added 17 points. Deandre Ayton bullied the Bucks in the paint, going for 27 on 12/14. Giannis was relatively quiet with 18 points on 35.7 FG%. The Suns shot 56 FG% as a team and were +6 in the turnover battle. I expect this game to be different, however, for a number of reasons. The Suns are missing Paul, Booker, and Payne. Their offense will take a major hit from this. The Bucks, meanwhile, are rolling right now and producing on both ends of the floor. The Suns bench advantage won’t be significant because of their injuries. With home court advantage, the Bucks will want to avenge their loss and remind the Suns who won the 2021 Finals. I like the Bucks to win this by at least 10 points. Look for the game to end up with around 220-225 points. 

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TV Schedule

Date: 3/6/22
Time: 3:30 PM ET
Arena: Fiserv Forum – Milwaukee, WI
Channel: ABC

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Phoenix Suns Starting Lineup

PG: Cameron Payne
SG: Landry Shamet
SF: Mikal Bridges
PF: Jae Crowder
C: Deandre Ayton

Phoenix Suns Analysis

The Suns will be desperate for offense without three of their top options. They need Payne, Ayton, and Bridges to pick up the scoring slack. Payne showed he can somewhat mimic Paul’s facilitating, but he is a clear downgrade. He’s averaging 10.5 PPG on a mediocre shooting split. The offense will revolve around the production derived from the Payne-Ayton pick and roll. The depleted Suns lack players who can consistently create off the dribble, so Payne’s shot creation will be essential. Ayton must deliver a stellar two-way performance against the Bucks. If Giannis is permitted to feast in the paint, the Suns have no chance to win this game. Ayton was exposed by Giannis in the Finals, but hopefully Ayton learned from the experience. He played extremely well in the previous matchup this season – scoring 27 while helping hold Giannis to 18. Unfortunately, the Bucks field one of the best defensive duos (Holiday & Giannis) who can neutralize the Suns pick and roll. 

Mikal Bridges is too reliant on Payne to get him the ball. Bridges rarely isolates off the dribble and is far more comfortable as a spot up shooter. His bread and butter is a catch and shoot three, but the Suns require Bridges to expand his game here. Jrue Holiday is a defensive pest who will make the game tough for Payne. Having another player capable of creating off the dribble will alleviate some of this pressure. A 25-point game from Bridges is almost a necessity for the Suns to topple the Bucks. 

Milwaukee Bucks Starting Lineup

PG: Jrue Holiday
SG: Grayson Allen
SF: Khris Middleton
PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo
C: Bobby Portis

Milwaukee Bucks Analysis

The Bucks are the clear favorites, yet they still need to come prepared against this disciplined Suns squad. With Bridges’ excellent defense on Middleton, the Bucks should not game plan around Middleton. Using him as a decoy and allowing the Bucks to attack the weaker defenders is the way to go. Payne is a solid defender, but Jrue Holiday is a mismatch for him. Holiday has the size to drive against Payne. Running the pick and roll with Giannis also forces Ayton out of the paint and into uncomfortable territory. Under no circumstance can the Suns afford to even briefly switch on the pick and roll because Giannis would easily make his way to the rim. Ayton cannot slide his feet on the perimeter at all either. Attacking the Suns with the Holiday-Giannis pick and roll makes sense at every level. 

Outside of that duo, the Bucks can keep the defense honest by Middleton and Portis hitting their spot up jump shots. Portis in particular has been a lethal outside shooter this season. If the Bucks can hit their perimeter shots, then the Suns forward tandem will be forced to stick closely to the shooters. As a result, the Suns would not be able to help at all in the paint where Giannis resides. 

Phoenix Suns vs Milwaukee Bucks Daily Fantasy Picks

I like Giannis, Holiday, and Payne in this matchup. Holiday and Giannis will terrorize the Suns in the pick and roll, which should lead to great numbers across the board for both of them. They have both been cooking recently, and there is no reason that shouldn’t continue here. I was back and forth between Payne and Ayton, but I am going with Payne. He will have the ball more often than Ayton. Also, Ayton requires Payne to get him the ball, and I am not sure that is going to happen enough with Holiday guarding Payne. The only reason I like Payne is because of his likely tremendous volume. Bridges is a solid pick, but his ceiling is not high enough for me to confidently take him. He’s capped at 25 in my mind, which is good but not good enough to take over Giannis, Jrue, or Payne. Payne will likely get 10+ assists, while Bridges is good for only a few rebounds and assists. If you have to only pick two players from this game, choose Holiday and Giannis. 

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2022 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs regarding analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions.

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