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NBA Finals Game 3: Bucks vs Suns

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Milwaukee needs better play from two key contributors to make the series interesting

NBA: Finals-Milwaukee Bucks at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Bucks vs Suns

7:00pm CST

ABC

For Milwaukee, it’s really simple. They need more than they’ve gotten from Khris Middleton, and especially Jrue Holiday. Middleton was huge in Game 1 but was horrible in Game 2, and Holiday has been awful in both games thus far. As good as Giannis Antetokounmpo is — and he’s really freaking good — Phoenix is far too solid from top to bottom to be beaten by one guy.

For context on Holiday specifically, the UCLA Bruin is 13.5/6/8 on (shield your eyes, please) .314/.143/.800 shooting splits. Holiday has been up-and-down all postseason, but the moment has looked too big for him thus far. His decision making has been... um... well he’s certainly been making decisions! He seems to make up his mind on what he wants to do with the ball before acting, as opposed to reacting to what the defense is giving him, and it’s causing massive problems for both he and Milwaukee.

The good news? Yes, there is good news for the Bucks! Holiday and Middleton have BOTH played much, much better at home throughout the entirety of the playoffs. At home, Jrue is averaging 16.2/4.2/5.8 on .495/.415/.709. For Middleton, the numbers are 24/7.8/5.4 on .475/.375/.848. That type of production on that type of efficiency from Giannis’ running mates will put the Bucks in great position to take Game 3 and potentially make this series interesting.

I expect those guys to perform, too. They’re too good not to.

What I am more interested in from a nerdy, schematic standpoint is just to see what the adjustments from each coaching staff will be. Milwaukee looked a little better defensively, but I still didn’t love taking Brook Lopez off the floor in the 4th quarter. Brook Lopez is a good defender, and they found something that works for him.

Phoenix is going to counter, though, because Monty Williams is a really damn good coach. The question, as always with Mike Budenholzer, is whether or not Milwaukee will be able to adjust on the fly to whatever new wrinkle Phoenix throws at them. That is my biggest concern for the Bucks tonight.

However, I think the home crowd is going to propel the Bucks to victory tonight. Give me Milwaukee 110-104.