Bucks find their place behind Antetokounmpo’s 41 points, explode the Suns


When Giannis Antetokounmpo crashed onto the pitch just two weeks ago with what appeared to be a serious knee injury, there was no guarantee he would be back this season.

Perhaps, he feared, he might even miss a year.

Antetokounmpo refused to stay ashore.

These Milwaukee Bucks won’t either.

Antetokounmpo had 41 points, 13 rebounds and six assists, and the Bucks beat Phoenix 120-100 on Sunday night, reducing the Suns’ lead to 2-1.

The first NBA Finals game in Milwaukee since 1974 went to the home team in a game, with Antetokounmpo and the bigger Bucks crushing the little Suns to a 20-2 advantage in points in the second chance.

“We knew what kind of game it was going to be,” Antetokounmpo said. “We knew we had to come here, play basketball well and compete as hard as possible.”

Game 4 takes place on Wednesday night, with the series guaranteed to return to Phoenix afterwards.

Antetokounmpo, who missed the last two games of the Eastern Conference Finals with a hypertensive left knee and wasn’t even sure he was ready to start this streak, continued his performance with 42 points and 12 rebounds. in Game 2 doing it all over again – even doing his free throws this time around.

Home advantage

Back in front of his own fans and freed from the loud accounts he heard on the road, Antetokounmpo finished 13 of 17 on the line.

Chris Paul had 19 points and nine assists, but the Suns got next to nothing from his star backcourt mate. Devin Booker shot 3 for 14, scoring just 10 points.

Jrue Holiday rebounded from two mediocre games in Phoenix with five 3-pointers and 21 points to put the Bucks back on the return track, having already overcome a 2-0 deficit in the playoffs. Khris Middleton added 18.

Fans released their “Bucks in 6! Bucks in 6!” singing as Milwaukee started to pull away in the first half and then again as the benches emptied with the final minutes.

“We knew what we had to do,” Holiday said. “We’ve been in this position before. We knew what this game meant for us and for the city.”

The Bucks are looking for their second NBA title and hadn’t even played in 47 years. They took control of that game by beating Phoenix 30-9 in the final nine minutes of the second quarter, then finishing the third with a score of 16-0.

Fans started heading to the Deer District outside the arena in the middle of the afternoon, with so many fans dressed in green that the Fiserv Forum looked more like Fiserv Forest.

They didn’t have a chance to cheer as much as they wanted soon after a strong start for the Suns, who took 12 points from Deandre Ayton in the first period.

But Ayton was hampered by fouling issues and the Bucks quickly ran past the Suns and kept going.

Antetokounmpo had seven straight points to finish a 9-0 run in the second that gave Milwaukee a six-point lead, and after Phoenix scored four in a row, the Bucks took off again on a 16- run. 3.

Bobby Portis collected the last two baskets of the half, ending a fairly quick break with a dunk for one of them, and it was 60-45 at the break.

The lead was 13 with less than eight minutes left in the third when Cam Johnson passed near midfield with an open path to the basket. PJ Tucker tried to intervene but it was too late, and Johnson threw him at him while drawing the foul.

It sparked a 14-5 run that brought him down to 74-70 and seemed to bring the Suns back into the game. Just as quickly, they made it out again.

Holiday scored two 3s in the next minute and Milwaukee reduced the lead to nine, and by the end of the third it had climbed to 98-76.

The Bucks, who lost the first two games to Brooklyn in the second round, avoided falling into a 3-0 hole that no NBA team escaped from.

They limited the Suns to nine 3-pointers after Phoenix hit 20 in their Game 2 win.

Ayton and Jae Crowder each had 18 points for the Suns. But Mikal Bridges, who had a career-high 27 in the playoffs in Game 2, took just four shots and tallied four points.

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