Phoenix (2-0) at Milwaukee (0-2)
When: Sunday, July 11th, 2021
Where: Fiserv Forum,
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: ABC
Opening Odds: Milwaukee -4/222
The Milwaukee Bucks find themselves in a familiar position and hope history repeats itself once again. The Bucks were down 2-0 to the Brooklyn Nets in the Eastern Conference, then came home and played better defensively in ultimately winning that series in seven games. The Phoenix Suns held homecourt with a pair of easy wins – and covers – and will attempt to take at least one game in Milwaukee to basically put this series to bed. It won’t be easy for the Suns because the Bucks are 15-1 in their last 16 games at Fiserv Forum. The Bucks, however, have only covered in one of their last five homes games against the Suns.
Phoenix used the backcourt duo of Devin Booker and Chris Paul to take the first two games, while Milwaukee’s guards were held in check. Giannis Antetokounmpo totaled 62 points for the Bucks in the first two games, including 42 in the 118-108 loss in Game 2 on Thursday. The Suns shot 50 percent from 3-point range in Game 2, draining 20-of-40. The Bucks are 4-point favorites to win at home, with a total of 222 for Game 3. The Suns are 12-3 against the spread in their last 15 games, including 6-1 ATS in their last seven road games.
Booker averaged 25.6 points per game in the regular season and is averaging 29 points through the first two games of the Finals. After Chris Paul took control in Game 1, it was Booker’s turn in Game 2 with a team-high 31 points on 12-for-25 shooting, while also adding five rebounds and six assists. Mikal Bridges went 3-for-6 from 3-point range, finishing with 27 points as six different Phoenix players finished the game with multiple triples. Paul had 23 points and eight assists in Game 2. The Suns are 4-0 against the spread in their last four games after allowing 100 points or more in their previous outing.
Despite still dealing with a knee injury, Antetokounmpo grabbed 12 rebounds and dished out four assists with three blocks in his 42-point outburst on Thursday. He’s only the fifth player in NBA history to have 10 games with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds in the same postseason. His 20 points in the third quarter was the most in a Finals quarter since Michael Jordan’s 22 against Phoenix in the 1993 Finals. Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday clearly need to help him. Middleton went 2-for-10 and Holiday went 3-for-14 in the first half on Thursday to combine for just 11 points at the break. Giannis can’t do it all. The Bucks are 4-1 against the spread in their last five games following an ATS loss.
I’m going to stick with Milwaukee in this game despite how they looked in the first two. The Bucks play much better at home and that includes Middleton and Holiday. I predict those two find their shooting stroke at home and take Game 3.
Check out who Bobby Babowski has on his Free NBA Picks page for today.
Pick: Bucks -4