Despite the surprising return of Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo from injury, the Phoenix Suns easily won Game 1 of the NBA Finals at home on Tuesday, and they are solid favorites on the NBA to take Game 2 on Thursday.
How to Bet Bucks at Suns NBA Odds & TV Info
- When: Thursday, 9 PM ET
- Where: Phoenix Suns Arena
- TV: ABC
- Stream: ESPN app
- NBA Odds: Suns -5.5 (total 220.5)
Why Bet on Milwaukee?
In a pretty big shock, Bucks star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo played in Game 1. He was originally listed as doubtful with his knee injury, then upgraded to questionable on Tuesday afternoon and then cleared to return after going through pre-game warmups with no issues. The two-time MVP had missed the Bucks’ previous two games because of a hyperextended left knee he suffered in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Atlanta Hawks.
Antetokounmpo said that until his MRI last Wednesday, he was convinced he’d face an extended absence: “I thought I would be out for a year. I couldn’t walk, and my knee was like double the size.”
In the 118-105 loss on Tuesday, the Freak finished with 20 points on 6-of-11 shooting and added 17 rebounds, four assists and two steals. He was able to play 35 minutes and even knocked down 7-of-12 free throws while being trolled by a raucous crowd in Phoenix. Giannis had a signature moment in the second quarter, chasing down Phoenix’s Mikal Bridges for a blocked shot in transition. The Bucks were one point better than the Suns during Antetokounmpo’s 35:21 on the floor. They were minus-14 in the 12:39 he sat.
Khris Middleton had 29 points but was just 12-for-26 shooting to go with seven rebounds, four assists and five turnovers. Of late he has caught his stride as he has now scored at least 26 points in his third straight game. Even with Giannis back in the lineup, Middleton shot almost twice as many shots as any player on the Bucks on Tuesday.
Jrue Holiday had just 10 points on 4-for-14 shooting but did add nine assists and seven rebounds in 40 minutes. Holiday has recorded nine-plus assists in his last five games, but he is only shooting 37.6 percent from the field and 26.5 percent from three during those contests.
Brook Lopez had 17 points and six rebounds but was terrible defensively. He simply can’t match the speed and explosion of Deandre Ayton, a player who has the ability to defend the perimeter while also matching his size down low. On the box score, Lopez’s minus-17 was as glaring as his 23 minutes played. The big man never returned after checking out with about five minutes left in the third quarter. Phoenix scored 126 points per 100 possessions with him on the court. The Bucks experimented with Antetokounmpo at center down the stretch.
Why Bet on Phoenix?The Suns were simply the better team in Game 1 and Chris Paul was the best player on the court. The future Hall of Famer, in his first Finals, had 32 points on 12-of-19 shooting along with nine assists, four rebounds and just two turnovers in 37 minutes.
Paul became the third player aged 36 or older to score at least 30 points in an NBA Finals game joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who did it six times, and Tim Duncan who did it once. He also became just the eighth player since turnovers began being tracked in 1984 to record at least 32 points, eight assists and two or fewer turnovers in an NBA Finals game. Paul scored or assisted on 54 points, the 3rd most points scored or assisted on in a players Finals debut in NBA history. Finally, Paul joined Michael Jordan in 1991 as the only players with 30 points and 9 assists in a Finals debut.
Devin Booker scored 27 points (10-of-10 free throws) and added six assists, three steals, two rebounds, and three turnovers in 42 minutes. Booker struggled from the three-point line on Tuesday going just 1-of-8 from distance, but he good everywhere else. In the Suns’ 17 playoff games so far, he’s averaging 27 points — more than in any of his regular seasons. He got Phoenix going from the start with 12 points in the first quarter, and got sent to the foul line — 6 of 6 — more in those 12 minutes than Milwaukee’s roster combined (aside from Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 12).
The Suns as a team shot 25-of-26 from the charity stripe on Tuesday, good for 96.2%. Milwaukee on the other hand shot only sixteen free throws, making nine of them at a 56.3% clip. Phoenix also got 14 points on 5-of-13 shooting from Mikal Bridges and 10 points apiece off the bench from Cameron Payne and Cameron Johnson.
The news wasn’t all good as reserve forward Dario Saric left in the first quarter with a knee injury, and his season is over with a torn ACL. Saric drove on Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez l and his right knee appeared to buckle when he planted his feet in the paint. Saric was averaging 4.8 points and 2.6 rebounds in 11.1 minutes per game during the Suns’ postseason run. He was a bit bigger contributor in the regular season.
- Bucks are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a ATS loss.
- Bucks are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games playing on 1 days rest.
- Bucks are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games as a road underdog.
- Suns are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games following a ATS win.
- Suns are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games as a home favorite.
- Suns are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games following a straight up win.
- Suns 115, Bucks 112
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