On Tuesday, the Milwaukee Bucks were defeated 118-105 by the Phoenix Suns in Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Finals. It was the kind of loss that reminded supporters of the Bucks’ inability to make in-game adjustments since coach Mike Budenholzer took over.
The Phoenix Suns were led by Chris Paul, who scored 32 points and added nine assists and four rebounds. He made 12 of 19 field goals and 4 of 7 from beyond the arc, slicing the Milwaukee Bucks’ defense like a novice.
Budenholzer and his coaching staff must ensure that Paul and the Phoenix Suns do not catch them off guard in Game 2 on Thursday. Even though Giannis Antetokounmpo’s presence on the court was motivating (he had 20 points, 17 rebounds, and four assists), his presence wasn’t enough to prohibit the Suns from being effective both inside and outside the paint.
Here are three modifications the Milwaukee Bucks will need to make in Game 2 of the 2021 NBA Finals versus the Phoenix Suns:
The #1 Milwaukee Bucks must keep the Phoenix Suns’ center out of the paint.
Before Game 1 of the NBA Finals, of all the advantages the Milwaukee Bucks possessed over the Phoenix Suns, it was their size that was supposed to make a difference in their favor. The Bucks, on the other hand, made Deandre Ayton look like the second coming of Shaquille O’Neal by dunking his way to 22 points and 19 rebounds.
alllllll day DA 😤 pic.twitter.com/kaRNymUDaU— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) July 7, 2021
The Phoenix Suns outscored the Milwaukee Bucks 44-42 in the paint and were only outrebounded by four boards, 47-43. The Bucks grabbed 38 defensive rebounds while surrendering only six offensive rebounds, which is a good sign. Antetokounmpo, Brook Lopez, and Khris Middleton, on the other hand, must maintain their lead on the glass.
In Game 1, Lopez hit a handful of three-pointers. If the Bucks can get Ayton out of the paint, Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday should have more room inside. This might provide them with more offensive rebounding and second-chance opportunities while also allowing them to shoot at a better percentage.