National writers react to Bucks win, now weigh finals odds


The Bucks secured a must-see victory in Game 3 of the NBA Finals with a 120-100 win over the Phoenix Suns, a victory that put Giannis Antetokounmpo at the forefront of national sporting discourse.

The real question now is: Can Milwaukee come back and win the series?

This issue has been incorporated into the response across the country.

After:The Milwaukee Bucks filled the contours of two losses to win their first NBA Finals game

After:Nickel: Giannis remains humble after sensational back-to-back NBA Finals performances put him in elite company

After:Nine stats that illustrate what Giannis Antetokounmpo did in the NBA Finals

Kevin Arnovitz points out that Giannis looked as comfortable as ever on the free throw line and suggested that Milwaukee may have found something.

As Holiday generated better quality shots on Sunday and Antetokounmpo used his physique to the max, the Bucks prevailed by crafting a formula that fueled them for three seasons: beyond the arc marksmanship; a mark of physical defense that covers the field; and Antetokounmpo rolling down the descent.

The attention Antetokounmpo demands helps to facilitate the first part, his instincts and speed reinforce the second, and the third defies explanation. With each passing game in the final, the Bucks have moved closer to rediscovering themselves.

After:Stephen A. Smith said “no” he didn’t want to come to Milwaukee for the NBA Finals. Well, he’s here.


David Aldridge texted Isiah Thomas to get the Hall of Fame point of view, as Thomas was also injured in the 1988 final and scored 25 points in the third quarter of Game 6 against the Lakers after s’ be sprained ankle.

I asked Thomas where we go in a time like this – when you’re exhausted, mentally and physically, and you see how much you’ve worked your whole life to slip away, because your body – of all things! – got injured at the worst possible time.

“I don’t have the answer to that question,” Thomas said. “It’s like in the Baptist Church, it’s the Holy Spirit and the Spirits that take over. We know it when we see it and feel it. How to get there remains a mystery.

John Hollinger, meanwhile, is giving the Bucks a chance with numbers on their side.

In Game 3, for example, Milwaukee’s quantity was as important a story as its quality. The Bucks had seven more offensive rebounds and five fewer turnovers than Phoenix, a 12-shot advantage in a game with 97 possessions apiece. This is important when you come back to quality: it means the Bucks can shoot 6% less than Phoenix and still win from the extra shots.

It’s also something that has increasingly favored Milwaukee as the series progressed. The Suns had another shot attempt in Game 1, but the Bucks were over-10 in Game 2 and as noted, plus-12 in Game 3. Plus what they did with those shots Additional was pure carnage: Until three quarters (the competitive part of the game), Milwaukee had a 20-0 advantage in second chance points.

Unfortunately for the Suns, this Milwaukee advantage looks quite lasting. In the regular season, Milwaukee was third in rebounds for 100 and the Suns were 20th, with the Suns looking particularly soft on their offensive glass (24th for offensive bounce rate, compared to Milwaukee’s third best defensive rebound rate).

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Vincent Goodwill says something that has been said at other times in these NBA playoffs: the opponent does not have the staff to contain Giannis. Suns coach Monty Williams therefore turned to another tactic: signaling that the disparity was too great, perhaps in the hope that the pendulum would return to the Suns’ favor.

In order for this group to be a title team, Giannis must be the conqueror and all corresponding pieces must fall to the next place. It’s almost like he’s looking at the Suns list and a light bulb has gone out: “No one can keep me. “

Too big for Jae Crowder, too fast for Cam Johnson.

Too much for the Suns, who could only mess him up multiple times instead of giving up unchallenged dunks and point-blank stares at the rim. Suns coach Monty Williams was in a bad mood afterwards, the tried and true tactic of asking Congress for a hearing in Congress on appeals received by Antetokounmpo – but going to the line often happens when freight trains are seized, regardless of the time or terrain setting.

Shaun Powell notes that it’s not just Giannis doing the damage.

The Bucks as a whole were better prepared for defensive changes and how to use their size on both sides. They passed Phoenix by 11. They were more physical, with Bobby Portis (11 points, 8 rebounds off the bench) leading the way. They better handled the Suns’ top scorer, Devin Booker; he missed 11 of 14 shots.

“This group aims to improve and learn,” Budenholzer said. “It’s about getting shot and also making it difficult for them.”

Jrue Holiday broke free from his final funk and found his shooting range, shooting 5 for 10 from deep. He hit a pair in the second quarter, which turned the game heavily in Milwaukee’s favor, and the Bucks never looked back.

The ring

Dan Devine notes that it is quite difficult to sum up the greatness that Giannis has shown so far in the series.

It was the best playoff performance of Antetokounmpo’s career, delivered in the greatest game of his life, and honestly even that could sell him a bit short. According to John Hollinger’s Game Score Metric, which aims to estimate a player’s productivity in a specific game, much like a single game’s PER, Giannis’ Game 3 was one of dozens of performances. the most individually dominant in the final in almost 40 years.

This is terribly impressive considering that Antetokounmpo was coming out of a Game 2 in which he scored 42-12-4 on 15 shots against 22. He is now one of 12 players to have recorded several matches of 40 point final; one of six players to do so in consecutive finals (twice joining Rick Barry, Shaquille O’Neal, Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Jerry West); and one of only two to score 40-10 in back-to-back finals, alongside just 2,000 Shaq. Which is fitting, given that Giannis scored 28 of his 41 points in the paint and got a perfect 13 for 13 in the restricted area – the geographic region of the pitch that the Greek Freak have come to dominate like no one since Wilt Chamberneezy. .

But what about the Bucks’ chances now? Zach Kram’s playoff odds machine takes a peek and gives a chance to win the series at just 28% – but winning Game 4 would give a major boost.

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Sam Quinn notes that Giannis going 13 for 17 at the free throw line was no accident; he shortened his routine.

Jack Maloney also tries to put Giannis’ performance into a historical perspective, especially for the city where he is committed to staying.

And then he stayed. When he failed in the playoffs, he stayed. When members of the national media apparently questioned his future in Milwaukee, he stayed. When the rest of the league formed super-teams, he stuck. The bond was forged, his heritage in the city was cemented. Whatever happens from there, he had chosen Milwaukee when few others would. It was their guy.

But for all the excitement, there’s also the hidden reminder that it was only one in four. He’s always made it clear that his ultimate goal is to bring a championship to Milwaukee, not just a final appearance. It has been a great race so far, but the job is not done yet.

The Bucks will need, at the very least, some otherworldly performances like we saw in Games 2 and 3, and will need to win at least once in Phoenix. If Giannis can pull off that and bring home the trophy for the first time in 50 years, he will truly be the stuff NBA legends are made of.

JR Radcliffe can be contacted at (262) 361-9141 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @JRRadcliffe.

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