MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks took their first step toward making the NBA Finals a lengthy sequence.
Playing in a Finals game in Milwaukee for the main time since 1974, the Bucks defeated the Phoenix Suns 120-100 in Game 3 on Sunday. The Suns lead the sequence 2-1, and Game 4 is Wednesday (9 p.m. ET, ABC).
A alternate in field and venue altered the tone of the sequence.
In a game the Bucks might maybe well well no longer salvage the funds for to lose, two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo delivered a various efficiency.
Milwaukee relied on Antetokounmpo’s special, nearly unstoppable label of bully-ball. He scored a game-high 41 points, including a ambitious 13-for-17 from the inaccurate line. He also had 13 rebounds and 6 assists.
Bucks backcourt tandem Khris Middleton (18 points) and Jrue Vacation (21 points) made obvious Antetokounmpo’s efficiency turned into as soon as no longer wasted.
The Suns had five gamers in double figures, led by Chris Paul’s 19 points. Deandre Ayton had 18 points and nine rebounds. Jae Crowder also had 18 points.
Here are three keys to the Bucks’ win:
Greek Freak dominates
It’s inspiring to surmise that Antetokounmpo isn’t 100% after sustaining a hyperextended left knee in Game 4 against Atlanta in the Jap Convention finals after which missing the final two video games of that sequence.
However he’s aloof a dominant pressure.
Following up his 42-point, 12-rebound effort in a Game 2 loss, Antetokounmpo feasted in the paint in Game 3, scoring 28 of his points inside, including 22 on 11-for-11 shooting in the restricted zone.
He scored 11 points in the 2nd quarter when the Bucks jumped to a 60-45 halftime advantage. Antetokounmpo also had 16 points in the third as the Bucks built a 98-76 advantage headed into the final quarter.
The Bucks had no longer led by double digits in the sequence till Game 3 and had a 20-point lead for noteworthy of the fourth quarter, including a 101-76 advantage on Antetokounmpo’s dunk with 11: 18 left in the game.
Middleton, Vacation bring for first time in sequence
Middleton’s playoff statistics in wins and losses is a lesson in contrasts. In losses, he shoots 34% from the sphere and 21% on 3s and averages 18 points. In wins, it’s 49%, 42% and 26 points.
And in the main two video games of the Finals, Middleton and Vacation had been a combined 28-for-77, including 7-for-25 on 3s.
Milwaukee desires offense from its 2nd- and third-supreme gamers to salvage a possibility in this sequence, and it got it from Middleton and Vacation in Game 3.
They combined for 39 points and 8-for-17 on 3s. Vacation also had nine assists, and Middleton added seven rebounds and 6 assists.
Suns’ 3-point shooting woes
Earlier than the game, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer turned into as soon as requested about the randomness of a make-or-leave out league.
“The randomness makes sport glowing,” he acknowledged. “As the coach, yeah, it is kind of depressing. However I’m prepared to sail. I will be capable to not wait. I hope the random is on our facet tonight. And I think there is things that it is probably you’ll well finish to help the random be in your facet both defensively and offensively, and that’s what gets your aggressive juices going, and you think there is things that it is probably you’ll well finish to decrease the random and make it more in your favor and make winning plays and all that.”
Phoenix shot 2-for-14 on 3s in the main half, and Devin Booker turned into as soon as 2-for-11 from the sphere and 1-for-6 on 3s in the main two quarters. He finished with appropriate 10 points after scoring in the 20s in the main two video games.
Milwaukee limited Phoenix’s 3-point success as a group. The Suns had been 20-for-40 in Game 2 nonetheless shot appropriate 9-for-31 (29%) on Sunday.
Apply Jeff Zillgitt on Twitter @JeffZillgitt.