Bucks side, Giannis Antetokounmpo (20 points, 17 rebounds) played 35 minutes without showing signs of weakness. Khris Middleton added 29 points but on 26 shots, while Jrue Holiday (10 points at 4/14, 9 assists, 7 rebounds) was again clumsy. However, it is above all in defense that the Bucks lost this Game 1, giving too much space to Chris Paul and Devin Booker on pick & roll.
Devin Booker and Giannis Antetokounmpo donnent le ton
With a Giannis Antetokounmpo back and holder, it is the Bucks who race at the start of the match in a deafening atmosphere. With every free throw taken by the double MVP, the Phoenix Suns Arena will ring out and count the seconds, as Nets and Hawks fans had done before them. The Suns, Devin Booker in the lead, however respond present and show patience to attack the “switches” on the pick & roll of the defense of Wisconsin (12-10).
This first quarter time has everything but the appearance of an observation round. Both teams push the ball in transition as soon as they have the opportunity to punish their opponent.
However, one player stands out in this first quarter: Devin Booker. Aggressive, the star of the Suns attacks the circle in abundance, serves his teammates, and will cause faults to get six free throws. He ends the period with 12 points and 3 assists, while on the other side it is Giannis Antetokounmpo (8 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists) who keeps him high to keep the Bucks in contact (30-26) .
Bucks attack gets bogged down
The intensity seen in the first quarter continued but the Suns decided to punish the “switches” of the Bucks by letting Chris Paul and Devin Booker play their one-on-one against Brook Lopez (17 points) and PJ Tucker. The two virtuosos show us all their panoply, especially at mid-distance, to launch a “run” of their team while the Bucks are struggling to respond in attack (45-38).
Mike Budenholzer stops the match and his players immediately recover to the place. Khris Middleton sends Brook Lopez to the alley-oop out of time-out, he continues by firing from a distance following a lost ball from Chris Paul, before ending this 7-0 with a mid-distance shot to put the two back. back-to-back teams (45-45).
The Suns are adding a layer, however. They end the half on a 12-4 during the last five minutes of half-time while the Bucks chain missed layups and lost balls (57-49).
Chris Paul feasts on the Bucks defense
Back from the locker room, a 3-point Giannis Antetokounmpo relaunched Milwaukee but this jump was only short-lived. Two mid-range shots from Chris Paul on Brook Lopez, including one with the foul as CP3 twists his ankle on the pivot foot, followed by a stray ball from Jrue Holiday, allow the Suns to take more than ten points ahead of the game for the first time (65-52).
Unfortunately for the Bucks, they seem to be one step behind everything in this third quarter. However, they change their minds by leaving Brook Lopez near the circle on the pick & rolls but Chris Paul and Devin Booker continue to lead the dance to find their spots halfway. It takes two award-winning shots from Brook Lopez, between forced shots in first intention, to prevent the Bucks from taking water, but the gap continues to climb (78-62).
In rhythm, Chris Paul confirms his good period by chaining brilliant actions. He scores at 3 points in the corner, stick Bobby Portis to go to the lay-up, then scores at the head of the racket from a distance on poor Portis! CP3 ends the quarter with 16 points to bring the gap to 20 units, but it is a new address from far away from Milwaukee, this time from Khris Middleton, which limits the breakage (92-76).
The Bucks too little, too late
The Bucks deserve credit for not giving up. In a boiling room on each basket of the Suns, they continue to glean slowly but surely the delay. It starts with an award-winning shot from Pat Connaughton, followed by an aggressive back-to-basket Khris Middleton, before ending with another long shot, their ninth of the half this time by Bryn Forbes, to come back below the bar. ten points (101-94).
The Suns cash in and go on the attack. An award-winning shot from Devin Booker stops the bleeding before Deandre Ayton and Chris Paul cause two stray balls from Khris Middleton. In the process, the Bucks continue to spoil possessions with this time a missed shot on a leg of Bryn Forbes in semi transition, which turns into two points on the other side (108-96).
If Bryn Forbes responds by doing what he knows how to do, which is shoot from a distance, the Suns relentlessly attack him and Pat Connaughton on the other side. He is too small against Devin Booker, and the future Team USA player easily finds his shot. He is also too slow against Chris Paul, and he allows the leader of Phoenix to go for the 2 + 1. The Suns therefore control logically and without trembling this end of the game to pocket the first set (118-105) of these NBA Finals. Game 2 in the night from Thursday to Friday!