Giannis Antetokounmpo went for 40 and 10 again and the Bucks rolled in Game 3. Milwaukee now has a chance to even the series on Wednesday at 9:00 PM ET. After dropping the first two games in Phoenix, the Bucks won 120-110 on Sunday night.
Milwaukee was led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, who had 40-plus points for the second consecutive game. Giannis finished with 41 points, 13 rebounds and six assists in 38 minutes of action. It was an extremely impressive performance and he also had help. Jrue Holiday finished with 21 points, nine assists and five rebounds and Khris Middleton added 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Chris Paul had 19 points and nine assists, and DeAndre Ayton scored 18 points with nine rebounds but their production wasn’t enough.
Giannis made some NBA history. By finishing with 41 points and 13 rebounds, he became just the second player ever to record 40-plus points and 10-plus rebounds in consecutive NBA Finals games. The only other player to do it was Shaquille O’Neal. Giannis did a lot of his damage from the paint. The 24 points that he scored in the paint tied the record for the most in an NBA Finals game over the last 25 years.
Team to Win (Regular Time)
• Phoenix Suns: 2.62
• Milwaukee Bucks: 1.55
• Phoenix Suns: +4.5 (1.90)
• Milwaukee Bucks: -4.5 (1.91)
• Over 220.5 (1.90)
• Under 220.5 (1.90)
Key Points to Consider
It’s clear that the Bucks flow much better when Giannis is on the block, as the ball handlers get to be ball handlers. This is how the Bucks can make this a series! Khris Middleton has to build his rhythm when Giannis is on the block and being a force like Shaq, Garnett or Amar’e Stoudemire. He doesn’t need to be coming downhill, he needs to do damage in the paint.
Middleton was himself on Sunday because the Bucks committed to Giannis being a force in the paint, letting Middleton be his usual creating, decision-making self. Middleton was in his element. In the last game he wasn’t and it showed in the field goal percentage.
As for the Suns, Devin Booker is one of the breakout stars in the league but he had a forgettable performance in Game 3. He shot just 1-for-7 in the first quarter and was never really able to get back on track after that. Booker finished with just 10 points on 3 of 14 shooting and 1 of 7 from beyond the arc in just 29 minutes. He didn’t play at all in the fourth quarter as the Bucks were up big at that point. Booker’s inability to produce points early in the game cost the Suns and the 10 points he scored were the fewest he produced in any game in the playoffs. Phoenix obviously need Booker to get back on track and he’s due for some positive regression, which is why I like the Over in Game 4.
The Bucks grabbed 13 offensive rebounds compared to just six for the Suns. In turn, they outscored the Suns 20-2 in second-chance points. Rebounding is a matter of effort and the Bucks were the more determined and physical team on Sunday and they shot 10 more free-throws than the Suns did in the game (26 to 16). Milwaukee’s physicality set the tone and Phoenix never really answered the bell. Moving forward, the Suns will have to be more physical and do a better job of boxing out.
The Over is 4-0-1 in Phoenix’s last five games, 6-0-1 in Phoenix’s last seven games against a team with a winning record, 28-11-1 in their last 40 games when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game, 4-0-1 in Milwaukee’s last five games, 4-0-1 in Milwaukee’s last five games when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game and 6-0-1 in the last seven meetings.
For the Suns, Devin Booker is projected to finish with 25.6 points, 6.8 assists and 5.0 rebounds, making 8.3 field goals in 19.6 attempts.
For the Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo is expected to score 27.6 points with 12.5 rebounds and 6.6 assists, making 9.5 field goals in 18.6 attempts.
Three-star (out of four) AccuScore hot trend pick on the total in this one. Average score in simulations is Milwaukee Bucks 111.2 to Phoenix Suns 110.7.
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