The Milwaukee Bucks will have the chance to capture their first title since 1974 when they host the Phoenix Suns in front of their own fans on Tuesday night.
After losing the first two games in Phoenix, the Bucks did brilliantly to come back and claim a 3-2 lead, including Winning Game 5 in Phoenix on Saturday. And, by all measures, that Game 5 win was what will have probably decided the series.
This has felt like Milwaukee’s year for some time, probably since the Eastern Conference semifinals when the Brooklyn Superteam (which also blew a 2-0 lead vs the Bucks) got dismantled by injuries. Maybe the Bucks don’t have the quality to win a championship against a full field, but with all the injuries this season, they have been the best team remaining since the Conference finals.
The Suns have been very good themselves, but you have to feel they are in the Finals mainly due to circumstance. Nobody thought they could reach this stage, and they had plenty of good fortune to do so: Anthony Davis and Lebron hobbled for the Lakers in Round One, Murray out for Denver in Round Two, Kawhi Leonard out for the Clippers in Round Three (and they still struggled in that one). I mean how much luckier can you get?
The Suns started the Finals strong, but as the Bucks made adjustments, Phoenix has found it harder and harder to compete. They have NO answer for Giannis, and Chris Paul is having a hard time against Jrue Holiday’s defense. They have lost the previous two games despite Devin Booker going mental with 40 and 42 points on 56% shooting. If you can’t win with Booker having nights like those, what is there left to do?
The Bucks have shown incredible fighting spirit and resilience in this postseason: coming back from deficits, winning on the road in key moments, doing the job in crunchtime. After two MVP’s and a few disappointing playoff exits, Giannis has truly stepped up as a legendary superstar and has been marvelous in these playoffs. This team has mental strength written all over it, and no way I can see them losing a deciding home game against a good, but not fantastic Suns team.
Remember: Milwaukee has finished strong in all series this postseason. They converted the first match point they had against Miami, Brooklyn and Atlanta – the first game in which they had the opportunity to wrap a series up, they did it.
Look for the Bucks to play to their strengths, play big, pound the Suns inside where they have a massive advantage, thus scoring in that fashion, or collapsing the defense for open threes. It has worked so well in the last three games.
I’m backing the Bucks to win straight up, odds are good enough for me to go this way in order to avoid some potential garbage time nightmare on the point spread. I think the Suns will do their best to make it a game, but the Bucks pull away late. Prediction: Milwaukee Bucks – Phoenix Suns 115 – 107.