The Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns play Game 2 of the NBA Finals from Phoenix Suns Arena tonight at 8:00 PM (Central Time) with it being televised on ABC.
The Phoenix Suns are 5 point favorites, per Bovada, as I write this.
I ended up rewatching Game 1 last night and here were my takeaways after watching the game for a second time:
Milwaukee on defense acted like they never even talked about how to defend Chris Paul in the pick and roll. I am not sure what Mike Budenholzer even does in practice.
The Suns only run two things on offense: Paul in a pick and roll and Devin Booker on an iso. That’s literally it.
They ran the pick and roll literally because the Bucks switch everything on screens. So Paul just runs it so he can get the mismatch with Brook Lopez or Bobby Portis on the switch.
Budenholzer needs to come up with a scheme to not end up having Lopez or Portis guarding Paul one-on-one.
The Bucks have plenty of options: They could trap it, they could have Holiday fight over the top of the screen and not switch, they could have Lopez and Portis get out there and “show hard” on the screen until Holiday can recover and then get back to their man (this is what I think they will do).
But it’s pretty simple: if the ball stays in Paul’s hands, the Bucks are probably going to lose. He is one of the best point guards I have ever seen and he is ultra focused, he knows how rare an opportunity he has in front of him.
The Bucks need to make somebody else beat them. Preferably it would not be Booker, although he has not shot the ball particularly well since Game 1 against the LA Clippers. Guys like Bridges, Ayton, Crowder, Johnson never score that many points. Make them have to have big time performances on a big time stage in the Finals.
Most role players do not have career highs in the Finals.
The Bucks on offense was even worse. We have seen them be super successful against both Brooklyn and Atlanta when they decided we are just going to dominate in the paint.
The Suns have no one that can guard the Greek Freak. Ayton has no chance to do it, he is 30 pounds too light in the rear end. Giannis will steamroll him.
Even a better matchup is getting the ball down low to Lopez, who by the way is shooting almost 70 percent in the paint during the playoffs, but yet they fire a ton of ill-advised 3’s which gives the Suns a chance at long rebounds and a jump start into their fast break.
Milwaukee’s strengths lie in their power down low. They have a huge advantage with Giannis, Lopez and Portis vs. the Suns frontline.
I don’t mind if the Bucks shoot 3’s as long as they are going inside first. Then when the ball does come back out, they will get a better quality look at the 3-point shot than they are getting currently.
Finally, for the Bucks and their 35-year old nemesis fragile point guard, I would advise punishing him on defense.
I would like to see Holiday post up Paul on offense. Or have Holiday run off a few screens to start the offense so Paul gets hit a few times on every play. That stuff wears on you after a few games and his shots will have a tougher time going down when he is hurting.
Finally, I would treat Cameron Payne I would treat Paul. That guy is dangerous.