Giannis Antetokounmpo came to life in the second half of game two of the NBA Finals but his Milwaukee Bucks still fell painfully short of the Phoenix Suns.
The Suns opened up a 2-0 lead in the series with a comfortable 118-108 win.
But despite coming back from a sore knee to lead the Buck, it was Antetokounmpo that shouldered the burden for his team.
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After a 12 point first half, Antetokounmpo piled on the points, finishing with a game high 42-points and 12 rebounds — becoming the first player in Bucks history to have 40-plus points, 10-plus rebounds in a Finals game.
He also tally 20 points in the third quarter to keep the Bucks in the game.
But the performance was not enough, piling the pressure on his teammates Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton to assist Antetokounmpo at the offensive end.
It’s hard work carrying the team.Source:Getty Images
Holiday finished with 17 points, five rebounds and seven assists, while Middleton had 11 points, six boards and eight assists. Pat Connaughton had 14 points as well.
Social media was quick to pounce on both Giannis’ huge game, and the lack of support he’s getting.
What a brutal waste of this Giannis game sheesh
Let me be clear, Giannis is an MVP and probably the most dominant player in the NBA, but this is a different #Bucks team with him! Their flow is different when he’s absent! This isn’t the same team from game 6 and 7 of the last. None the less needed in these finals of course! 💯
I’ve never seen anything like Middleton’s up and dwn, Holiday is really struggling https://t.co/R4YkNqEbgm
🤷🏾♂️ when they have to defer to Giannis it makes a BIG difference…In the HAWKS series, I wished Giannis could be out there instead of being injured because their Offense flowed better without him. https://t.co/lmu8r45cfN
Speaking post match, Antetokounmpo shrugged off the injury that saw him miss the final games of the conference finals against Atlanta.
“I’m out there to play, to win anyway possible,” he said. “When you start thinking about your knee.. you make excuses in your mind. You’re out there, play the game.”
At the other end of the floor, the Suns shared the responsibility with Devin Booker scoring 31 points, Mikal Bridges with 27 and Chris Paul adding 23.
Bridges scored a playoff career-high 27 points ahead of the move to Milwaukee for games three and four on Sunday and Wednesday.
“It’s a 0-0 mindset for us,” Booker said. “It’s a game-seven mentality for us. Every game is a game seven for us. It gets rowdy up there but we’ll be ready for it.”
What do they say about champion teams?Source:Getty Images
The Suns seek their first NBA crown while the Bucks are trying to capture their first title in 50 years.
“We’ve got to just keep making it tough on them,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “We’ve got to look at the film and keep working to get better against this group.”
Bahamas big man Deandre Ayton added 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Suns while Jae Crowder had 11 points and 10 rebounds for Phoenix, but the surprise effort came from Bridges, who hit 8-of-15 from the floor and 8-of-8 from the free throw line.
“We need that,” Booker said. “It takes a lot of pressure off everybody once we get it going on the offensive end.”
However, it wasn’t all good news for the Suns with Torrey Craig suffering a right leg injury at the end of the third quarter just a day after losing Croatian forward Dario Saric with a torn right knee ligament.
— with AFP
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