The Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Phoenix Suns in Game 3 of the NBA Finals 120 -110. Everyone knows going down 0-3 in any playoff series is the beginning of the end and no one knew it better than the Bucks heading into this game.
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 41 points with 13 rebounds which makes this his second consecutive 40 point game. The Greek Freak joins Shaquille O’Neal as the only two players to achieve this feat in the NBA Finals, which is why there is no surprise Shaq gave the “Superman” nickname to the Freak a while back.
The Bucks never let off the gas, maintaining a solid eight to 10-point lead for the majority of the game before a stellar third quarter put them in the lead by 22. The Suns shot over 60% from the field in the third quarter yet the lead only continued to increase which only speaks to how well the Bucks played in the third.
Besides Antetokounmpo, the next most important performance for Milwaukee came from Jrue Holiday. After a rocky first couple of games in Phoenix, it was imperative for Holiday to respond in a big way. He ended the game with 21 points on 57% shooting, a pair of steals and five 3-pointers.
He hounded Devin Booker and Chris Paul all night, deflecting passes and causing disruptions early in Phoenix’s possessions as to not let them get a rhythm offensively.
Besides Holiday and Antetokounmpo, Middleton had 18, but more importantly, the role players came to play. P.J. Tucker and Bobby Portis brought the hustle and energy needed for their team to come out victorious. Holiday, Portis, Antetokounmpo and Tucker were constantly on the floor for loose balls and on the glass for offensive boards. It was an all-around championship effort and response from the Bucks.
The Suns put up a fight but did not look like themselves in game 3. While Paul finished the game with 19 points, Booker had a quiet 10 points on 3 for 14 shooting and 1 for 7 from downtown. Cameron Payne who has proved himself incredibly valuable to this team scoring-wise had seven points on 3 for 10 shooting.
That is 13 for 38 shooting from three of the most important scorers on the Suns. That along with shooting 9 for 31 from three as a team is a recipe for a loss.
The good in the bad that was game 3 for the Suns was the performance from Cameron Johnson. While he only shot 1 for 5 from deep, his five field goals came at times in which the Suns were trying to spark a comeback. He had a ferocious poster on Tucker, one that he will most likely be signing for fans all summer long. It felt as if Johnson, Paul, Ayton and Crowder were the ones keeping the Suns afloat offensively, but it was not enough.
The Bucks landed an uppercut on the Suns to put them on their heels. Now, the question is not if, but when Phoenix will respond. Will it be in Game 4 to put them up 3-1? Will it be in game 5 when they return to Phoenix? Time will tell, but do not be surprised if this one goes seven games.