“It’s not over until it’s over”, said the former NBA All-Star Baron Davis after the Phoenix Suns took Game 2 of the NBA Finals with a 118-108 win over the Milwaukee Bucks at the Phoenix Suns Arena on Thursday night. Devin Booker led the way with a 31-point performance, while young forward Mikal Bridges put up a postseason-high 27 points.
Booker certainly echoed the sentiment shared by Baron Davis after the game. “It’s a 0-0 mindset for us going into Game 3,” Booker said. “It’s a Game 7 for us. Every game is a Game 7 at this point of the season. We’re locked in.”
All the starters for the Suns scored double digits, with Booker and Bridges leading the way. Chris Paul added 23 points, Jae Crowder 11 and DeAndre Ayton had 10. Game 2’s highlight reel was owned by the Suns through a 12-pass possession that ended with Ayton closing it with a layup and getting a foul late in the second quarter. The Bucks’ defensive rotation was tight on that play but the passing from the Suns involving every player touching the ball twice at least was a masterclass in ball movement.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had an impressive night with 42 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, and three blocks. Antetokounmpo (20 points in the 3rd quarter of Game 2) became the 4th player to score 20+ points in an NBA Finals quarter over the last 50 seasons. The other three being Michael Jordan (1993 Finals), Isiah Thomas (1988 & 1990 Finals) and Joe Dumars (1989 Finals).
However, the monster-night wasn’t enough as the Bucks fell to a 0-2 deficit in the series. Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday went 12-of-37 in the game when Antetokounmpo got 15 on 22. However, coach Budenholzer appreciated the defensive value that Middleton and Holiday bring regardless of their offensive performance.
“You always give credit to the defense,” Budenholzer said. “Those guys do a good job. There’s probably a few looks that they’ve got to go in, and I think they just keep working and they’ll be good.”
Only four teams in NBA history have lost an NBA Finals series after being up 2-0. The Suns will want to avoid becoming the fifth team on this list. As the series moves to Milwaukee, Bucks will look to repeat their Eastern Conference semifinals performance when they were down 0-2 on the road and then went on to win the series against Brooklyn Nets. Game 3 at the Fiserv Forum on Sunday night (Monday morning IST) could just be the start of that.
Game 3 of the NBA Finals will be broadcast live on Star Sports Select and streamed on Disney+Hotstar and NBA League Pass on July 12 at 5:30 AM