Suns at Bucks Game 6 Pick: Milwaukee Bucks -5 (-110)
It took a while, but a road team has finally won a game in the 2021 NBA Finals. The Milwaukee Bucks stormed into Phoenix on Saturday night and came away with a shocking 123-119 victory. Milwaukee erased a 16-point second-half deficit to take command early in the fourth quarter, only to survive a late rally from the Suns and come to within one win of an NBA championship.
Needless to say, Milwaukee has been waiting for this moment for quite some time. The Bucks have just one NBA title under their belt, which came way back in 1971 when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson were running the show. Milwaukee will have a golden opportunity to win a title on their home floor on Tuesday night. This has been an incredibly hard-fought series, but Game 5 was the first time a betting underdog actually covered the spread.
The Suns will hope to pull off the same feat tonight. Phoenix enters game 6 at Fiserv Forum as five-point favorites according to BetOnline. The game also features an over/under of 222 points.
Suns Need Better Shots
The Suns have two of the best shot-makers in the league in Devin Booker and Chris Paul. While both guards have had their shining moments over the course of Phoenix’s remarkable playoff run, the Bucks’ defense has forced the Suns into some incredibly difficult looks as this series has progressed. Since the start of Game 3, the Suns have had a very difficult time finding clean looks offensively. The Bucks, meanwhile, have had more success getting shots inside the paint.
Something will have to change if the Suns are going to sweep the last two games of the series and win a title for the first time in franchise history. Phoenix shot the ball remarkably well in Game 5, but the Bucks shot an even better percentage thanks in large part to the quality of their opportunities. To put it more simply, the Suns have been more reliant on jumpers than the Bucks have over the course of the full series. In the end, the team that generates easier looks is typically going to come away victorious.
Devin Booker stared Giannis down earlier in the game, on a dunk that didn’t count. Giannis stared the whole world down, on a dunk that sealed the game. Stop playing with this man. #Bucks #NBAFinals #NBA pic.twitter.com/6vtp7cAHt9
— Tristain Thomas (@the20double) July 18, 2021
So far, Milwaukee has done a better job of getting into the right areas of the floor. Booker scored at least 40 points for the second straight game in Game 5, but the majority of his attempts in this series have come from outside the paint. Paul is a maestro of the midrange game, but the length of Jrue Holiday has made it harder for CP3 to generate his own consistent offense through the first five games.
Paul is obviously a generational point guard, but his reluctance to play with any pace has cost the Suns in this series. Milwaukee has been incredibly opportunistic with their opportunities, especially in transition. The Suns are a young and athletic enough team to do damage in the transition game, but their offense has instead gotten bogged down in the halfcourt game too often. If the Suns are going to continue to rely heavily on hitting midrange shots, their season may well come to a close tonight.
Milwaukee Has Momentum
The Bucks looked like they were dead in the water after falling into an 0-2 series hole, but Milwaukee has since reeled off three straight wins to wrestle back control in the series. Giannis Antetokounmpo has been otherworldly since Game 2, while Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton have both had big moments of their own.
The Bucks have not only been taking advantage of transition opportunities, but they have also crushed Phoenix on the boards. Milwaukee’s dominance on the offensive glass has been particularly devastating to Phoenix. The Bucks grabbed 11 more offensive rebounds in Game 5, including a crucial late board from Antetokounmpo following a missed free throw that ultimately sealed the game for Milwaukee.
Milwaukee, a message from @Giannis_An34: pic.twitter.com/zXIhsT0RVt
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) July 18, 2021
Between Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez, the Suns really just don’t have enough size to combat the Bucks’ lengthy frontcourt. Deandre Ayton has done a nice job of his own on the glass in this series, but he’ll need some help. Ayton grabbed 10 boards in Game 5, but no other Sun finished with more than five caroms. Antetokounmpo, Lopez, Middleton, and Pat Connaughton all finished with at least six for Milwaukee in the game.
The Suns jumped out to an impressive 37-21 lead after the first quarter in Game 5, only for Milwaukee to instantly storm back. Mike Budenholzer’s squad outscored Phoenix 79-53 in the second and third quarters combined, and the Suns were unable to overcome that deficit in the game’s waning moments.
Can the Bucks Close the Deal?
Pick: Bucks -5Odds: -110Place Your Bet Now!$100 Could Win You…$190
So far, the Bucks’ adjustments have worked like a charm in this series. Antetokounmpo has been relentless in his desire to get to the basket at all costs. Whenever the Suns decide to bring an extra defender, Giannis has been able to pick them apart by finding open shooters dotting the perimeter. Until the Suns show they’re capable of stopping that action, expect the Bucks to continue to exploit it.
We know the Bucks are capable of winning on the road, but the last thing this team wants to do is book another trip to the Arizona desert. Milwaukee knows they have to close the deal on their home floor in Game 6, and I think they’ll do just that. As fun as it would be to see this series go to a winner-take-all Game 7, I’m expecting the Bucks to come away with their fourth straight win at home tonight.
Take the Bucks to win Game 6 and cover the five-point spread along the way.
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