Put those brooms away, Suns fans. It ain’t over yet. The Milwaukee Bucks took yesterday’s NBA Finals Game 3, winning handily at home to get back in the series against Devin Booker & co. Here’s everything you need to know about Sunday night’s BBNBA drama.
Giannis drops 41, Bucks trim series deficit to 2-1
Through two games, the favored Phoenix Suns looked for all the world like soon-to-be-anointed NBA champions. But in Game 3, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks completely flipped the script. They looked like the dominant team for most of the night, and the home fans roused them on to a crucial 120-100 victory, renewing their title hopes.
The Suns jumped out to a lead early, bolstered by 12 first-quarter points from Deandre Ayton. But Milwaukee took over in the second quarter, building a 15-point halftime lead that would climb as high as 25 before the night was over. After scoring 42 points in Thursday’s Game 2 loss, Giannis followed it up with another ridiculous statline: 41 points, 13 rebounds and six assists in 38 minutes. Even Phoenix’s hack-a-Freak tactic proved fruitless in this one, as Antetokounmpo made a solid 13 of 17 shots from the line in the game. He was angry.
GIANNIS THROWS IT DOWN AND THE CROWD IS FIRED UP ? pic.twitter.com/P3pPmkDDqt
— ESPN (@espn) July 12, 2021
For the Suns, a cold shooting night proved to be their undoing. After making 20 three pointers in Game 2, the team went 9-31 shooting from deep in the loss — and six of those makes belonged to Jae Crowder alone. The Suns standard backcourt of Booker, Chris Paul, Cam Payne, Torrey Craig and Cameron Johnson combined for a brutal 3-21 mark from beyond the arc. Booker finished with a playoff-low 10 points at the end of the day, shooting just 3-14 from the floor.
The Suns did manage a bit of a run in the third quarter, sparked by this electric transition poster from Johnson:
dear god Cam Johnson pic.twitter.com/GzswMIJLHT
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) July 12, 2021
They got as close as four points once, but a few clutch threes from Jrue Holiday were enough to fend off the comeback. The Bucks went on a flurry of scoring to extend the lead back to 20 by the end of the quarter, and they never looked back.
Antetokounmpo’s second consecutive 40-point effort in the Finals puts him halfway to the mark set by Michael Jordan in 1993, also against the Suns. Outside of him, the team was led by 21 from Holiday and 18 from Khris Middleton. No player on the Suns even cracked 20 points. Ayton and Crowder had 18 apiece in the loss, while Paul finished with 19 and nine assists. He reached deep into his bag once or twice, but it wasn’t enough.
CP3 put the moves on Giannis ?
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 12, 2021
I mean, come on. You do all that, and the defense is still right there? That’s just unfair.
Milwaukee’s win brings them within a game of evening the series 2-2, just as they did in the Eastern Conference semis against the Nets. They’ll have the chance to do just that at home on Wednesday night, when Phoenix returns to the Fiserv Forum for Game 4.
Can Booker bounce back, or will the Greek Freak have his way once again?
Wednesday, 7/14 (ABC) – Suns @ Bucks – 9:00 E.T.