The Phoenix Suns hadn’t been to the playoffs since 2010. Additionally, the Suns’ last NBA Finals appearance was back in 1993.
Despite both of those trends, the Suns have had an impressive postseason run thus far. They took the series opener against the Milwaukee Bucks to the tune of 118-105. They followed that up with another double-digit win to take a 2-0 series lead over the Eastern Conference champs.
The Suns’ biggest takeaways in Game 2 of the 2021 NBA Finals
Here’s a look at the biggest takeaways from the Suns’ Game 2 victory over the Bucks.
3. Phoenix Suns have no answer for Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo hyperextended his left knee in the conference finals against the Atlanta Hawks. The injury forced him to miss the final two games of that series. Not only that, some within the organization feared that his season was over.
However, the two-time MVP returned to the lineup for the Finals. In Game 1, he notched a double-double that included 20 points (6-for-11) and 17 rebounds. Being that he took just 11 shots, the consensus was that he would be more aggressive in Game 2.
That certainly proved to be the case as Antetokounmpo went off for 42 points, 12 rebounds, and four assists. Giannis also recorded three blocks and he shot a somewhat respectable 11-for-18 from the charity stripe. His performance included an astounding 20 points in the third quarter.
As solid as his performance was, though, it wasn’t enough to keep the Suns from winning the game. And while the Suns don’t seem to have an answer for him, they have shown they can win if the supporting cast continues to be a no-show.
2. Mikal Bridges shines for the Phoenix Suns again in Game 2
Suns’ third-year forward Mikal Bridges wasn’t much of a factor against the LA Clippers in the Western Conference Finals. He averaged 8.7 points per contest while shooting just 23.9% from the 3-point line.
It has been a different story in this series against the Bucks. In the series opener, Bridges didn’t have a terrific shooting night (5-for-13), but he contributed 14 points in 30 minutes of action.
In Game 2, Bridges was an integral part of the team’s offense, scoring 27 points to go along with seven rebounds. This marked the best outing for Bridges during the Suns’ postseason run. With Deandre Ayton being held a quiet 10 points, the Suns needed a third cog and Bridges delivered right on cue.
1. Devin Booker and Chris Paul continue to give Bucks’ defense fits
Chris Paul is playing in his first Finals series but you wouldn’t know it by the numbers he’s putting up. In Game 1, he scored 32 points and handed out nine assists. And he connected on four of his seven attempts from long range. Meanwhile, Devin Booker contributed 27 points to go along with six assists.
Fortunately for the Suns, the duo was at it again in Game 2. Paul scored 20 points on 10-for-20 shooting and he recorded eight assists. Booker did his part, scoring a team-high 31 points. He also handed out six assists and grabbed five rebounds.
Sure, the backcourt production was impressive. However, the timing of some of their baskets was crucial when the Bucks trimmed the deficit to single digits. Thanks in part to the dynamic duo, the Suns are two wins away from claiming the team’s first NBA title.
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