Suns Win Game 1 of NBA Finals 118-105 Over Bucks

Matthew JohnsonJuly 6, 2021
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The Phoenix Suns last played in a game six days ago, but showed little signs of rust Tuesday night in a convincing 118-105 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Finals.

Playing in front of a raucous sellout crowd, the Suns led by four after the first quarter; by nine at halftime; and then busted the game wide open in the third quarter: outscoring the Bucks 35-27, building a 20-point lead and never looked back.

Phoenix point guard Chris Paul once again shined on the NBA’s biggest stage, leading the Suns with 32 points on 12/19 shooting (4/7 from three point range) to go along with nine assists and four rebounds. Paul has 73 points in his last two games (41 vs. the Clippers in Game 6 last Wednesday).

Suns big man Deandre Ayton continued his brilliant playoff run with 22 points and 19 rebounds, looking more and more confident and dominant inside the paint with every passing game. Ayton’s ability to catch the ball and handle it around the hoop has been monumental during this postseason.

 

 

Ayton (39 minutes in Game 1) may be forced into more playing time the rest of the series with the injury to Dario Saric. Saric left early in the game with an apparent right knee injury and did not return. Saric has been coming off the bench in the playoffs to give Ayton some rest. Backup center Frank Kaminsky only minimally helped that role tonight, playing four minutes and recording zero stats.

Suns star guard Devin Booker overcame a quiet shooting night (8/21 from the field with 1/8 on three pointers) by getting to the free throw line early and often. Booker was a perfect 10/10 from the charity stripe. As a team, the Suns went 25/26 on free throws — besting the Bucks who shot 9/16 (56%) for the night.

Despite a miserable shooting night for Jae Crowder (0/8 fg, 0/5Β  3pt.), the Suns energetic forward was vital on defense, grabbing 9 rebounds and played a major part in helping force 13 Milwaukee turnovers.

The Suns as a team had nine steals: 3 for Booker, 2 for Cam Payne, 1 each for Mikal Bridges, Ayton and Paul. Bridges chipped in with 14 points while playing a key defensive role against Milwaukee’s sharpshooter Khris Middleton (29 points).

Game 1 goes to the Suns. Three more wins to go!

Game 2 is scheduled for Thursday night at 6 p.m. at Phoenix Suns Arena, with Games 3 and 4 shifting to Milwaukee on Sunday and next Wednesday respectively.

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