The Phoenix Suns are just two wins away from their first-ever NBA championship as they play the Milwaukee Bucks in game 3 of the 2020-21 NBA Finals.
For the Suns, a 2-0 series lead built on double-digit victories is exactly where they want to be. But betting on this NBA series to be over in four could be premature: the Bucks have only lost one game at home during this postseason and have shown they can come back from adversity.
Sportsbooks have the Bucks as favorites for this game with the spread set at four points. Remember, though: the Suns won at the Fiserv Forum during the regular season and have performed strongly on the road this season.
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Shooting - Phoenix Suns v Milwaukee Bucks
If there’s one stat that can tell the story of game 2, it’s this: the Milwaukee Bucks were 9-for-31 (29%) from downtown while the Phoenix Suns were 20-for-40 (50%).
The numbers don’t lie: the Suns are statistically a better shooting team than the Bucks, (47.8% shooting vs 45.9% this postseason). What’s more, Milwaukee appears lost from downtown. They were hitting 38.9% of their threes during the regular season but are now down to just 31.7%.
For some reason, the Bucks just aren’t scoring the points they’re used to. They averaged a league-best 120.1 points per game in the regular season but are just 106.5 in the first two games of these finals.
Still, the law of averages suggests that the Bucks will eventually start hitting more shots and that the Suns will have to ease off the gas a little.
Giannis is back
Giannis Antetokounmpo risked missing this entire finals series due to injury.
Instead, the Greek Freak lived up to his nickname and stormed game 2 of the finals against the Suns, ending with 42 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and three blocks.
Though the Bucks are 0-2 down this series, they have actually outscored their opponents by four points when Giannis is on the floor. Their problem is what happens when Giannis is benched: they’ve been outscored by 27 points during those periods.
The good news for Bucks fans is that Giannis’ supporting cast does a better job of holding off the other team when they play at home.
The Bucks trail opponents by four points when playing without Giannis at home, but by 19 when they’re on the road. That’s a big, big difference.
One team, two stars: Booker and Paul
If the Bucks have their Superman in Giannis, then the Suns backcourt of Devin Booker and Chris Paul are the X-Men.
Booker and Paul had a combined 113 points in the first two games of this series - the most by a starting backcourt in recorded history - and their teammates have also been heavily involved in the team’s offense. Even Mikal Bridges had 27 in game 2.
The Bucks, on the other hand, need more input from Giannis’ sidekicks Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday. Both have been pretty anonymous offensively this series and will need to step up before it’s too late.
Betting on game 3 - Phoenix Suns vs Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks are playing at home and are priced as Moneyline favorites here at -205 but there is good value to be had on the Suns, who are priced at +155.
The Bucks have struggled against the spread this season and are 1-4 ATS in their last five home games against the Suns. Phoenix, meanwhile, is 55-34-1 in covering the spread.
The total has been set at 222, which is higher than it was in the two previous games in this series. The Suns were especially hot in game 2 and the Bucks are no defensive pushovers: this may be a time to look carefully at the under.
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