A second-quarter burst for the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 3 helped them avoid going 0-3 down in the 2021 NBA Finals against the Phoenix Suns. The Bucks outscored the Suns 35-17 in that period, setting the tone for a crucial win by a 120-100 margin.
The Milwaukee Bucks had the aggression needed in Game 2 but couldn’t execute their plans to perfection. However, that wasn’t the case during Sunday night’s matchup. They dominated the paint, scoring 54 points in that area, and also had 17 points off the Phoenix Suns’ turnovers.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (41 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists) received much-needed support from his fellow teammates as Jrue Holiday (21 points, 9 assists, 5 3s) and Khris Middleton (18 points) both rediscovered their rhythm.
Meanwhile, the Phoenix Suns, after ending the first quarter of the match with a 3-point lead, failed to maximize their opportunities as they struggled immensely on the defensive end against the aggressive approach of the Milwaukee Bucks. It also hampered their offense as they couldn’t shoot the ball as well as they would have liked.
After knocking down a franchise-record 20 threes in Game 2, they could only make nine shots from deep in Game 3. The likes of Devin Booker and Cameron Payne did not have the best of games, shooting a combined 6-of-24 from the field.
Deandre Ayton (18 points, 8-of-11 FG) had a solid start to the game but had four fouls early on in the third quarter, which allowed the Milwaukee Bucks to stay ahead of the Phoenix Suns, despite them cutting the Bucks’ 15-point lead to just four.
Chris Paul was the Phoenix Suns’ highest scorer on the night, tallying 19 points to go with nine assists, while Jae Crowder had 18 points on 6-of-7 three-point shooting.
#1 Hit: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)
Heading into the 2021 NBA Finals, there were huge concerns regarding Giannis Antetokounmpo’s fitness after the knee injury he suffered in the series against the Atlanta Hawks.
Nonetheless, the Milwaukee Bucks talisman has shown tremendous grit and determination to make sure his team has a healthy chance of landing the Larry O’Brien trophy this year.
It was his second consecutive 40-point double-double of the series and was the driving force for the Milwaukee Bucks in this blowout win on their home court. Giannis tallied 41 points, 13 rebounds and six assists on the night.
He shot a 61% clip from the floor and did not disappoint with his free-throw shooting either, making 13-of-17 attempts from the charity stripe, shooting eight straight at one stage
Only two players in NBA history had 40+ points and 10+ rebounds in back-to-back Finals games.— StatMuse (@statmuse) July 12, 2021
Shaq and Giannis. pic.twitter.com/IO4pZJEbDO
Giannis had four offensive rebounds on the night and punished the Phoenix Suns after Deandre Ayton was forced to sit out the majority of the third quarter.
#2 Flop: Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns)
Devin Booker had a rare off game as he tallied just 10 points for the Phoenix Suns. Unlike Game 2, Booker could not shrug off a slow start as his only shot 1-of-7 from the field in the opening quarter of the match. As the Phoenix Suns’ top scorer, Booker was expected to be lethal for the team in a game away from home against a side like the Milwaukee Bucks, who are lethal when playing with homecourt advantage.
Devin Booker finishes Game 3 with 10 points on 3-14 FG. Awful game from him. I doubt we see that happen again in this series— Gerald Bourguet (@GeraldBourguet) July 12, 2021
However, that wasn’t the case. Monty Williams ended up giving his star player just 29 minutes in the game as a result, which proved to be a wise decision as the Milwaukee Bucks looked unstoppable during the match.
Booker played well over 40 minutes in almost every game before this contest in the playoffs and the Phoenix Suns will be hoping he is at his best when the two sides meet for Game 4 on Wednesday.