Here’s The Game Day’s Milwaukee Bucks vs Phoenix Suns Game 2 Prediction with 2021 NBA Finals Picks.
Somehow, someway, Giannis Antetokounmpo was able to suit up for the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Finals just one week after hyperextending his left knee. It was remarkable to see him out on the court after many feared he’d suffered a season-ending injury. He didn’t look tentative, either, scoring 20 points and grabbing 17 rebounds in over 35 minutes of action.
His performance failed to put Milwaukee over the top, however, as the Phoenix Suns took the series opener, 118-105. Chris Paul starred in his first career NBA Finals game, scoring 32 points on 12-of-19 shooting while dishing out nine assists. Devin Booker added 27 points and Deandre Ayton posted another huge double-double, finishing with 22 points and 19 boards.
Can Giannis and company bounce back to win Game 2 and avoid an 0-2 series deficit heading back to Milwaukee? It’ll be tough against one of the best home teams in the league, but the Bucks won’t go down without a fight.
Game 2 of the 2021 NBA Finals will start at 9:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, July 8, and will air on ABC, with Phoenix favored to win by 5.5 points, per BetMGM.
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Milwaukee Bucks vs Phoenix Suns Game 2 Analysis
If Milwaukee is going to steal one on the road, it’s going to be on the back of Antetokounmpo. Granted, he’s coming off an injury, but he needs to be more aggressive in picking his spots if the Bucks are going to have any shot at pulling this off. He took only 11 shots from the floor in Game 1, which is the fewest he’s attempted in a full game during this postseason.
Giannis can’t do it on his own, however. Jrue Holiday needs to be much better in Game 2 than he was in Game 1, when he scored just 10 points on 4-of-14 shooting (including 0-for-4 from three). He still managed to rack up nine assists and seven rebounds, but like Antetokounmpo he needs to take the open shot when it’s there rather than passing to a teammate.
The Suns, on the other hand, are in the driver’s seat after winning Game 1 fairly easily. They’re now 7-2 at home in the playoffs and have won six of their last seven in Phoenix, where the crowd was electric in Game 1.
As far as their game plan for Game 2, the Suns just need to keep doing what they’re doing. Continue attacking the basket and utilizing the pick and roll with CP3 and Booker to exploit Brook Lopez on the switch. Focus on slowing down Giannis and defending the perimeter as well, and Phoenix should be able to take Game 2, especially if Ayton, Booker, and Paul all play well again.
But will Milwaukee cover the spread of 5.5 points? I say yes. They’re too good of a team with a healthy Antetokounmpo to lose by double-digits again, and I expect them to play better in Game 2. I’ll take the Suns to win in a close one, but the Bucks won’t let them off easy.
Milwaukee Bucks: Keys To Victory
- Step over screens and defend the perimeter.
- Allow Giannis to operate as a primary scorer.
- Control the tempo of play and make the Suns beat them in the half-court offense.
- Limit fast-break opportunities.
Phoenix Suns: Keys To Victory
- Play up-tempo and get easy fast-break points.
- Attack the rim and get to the free-throw line.
- Generate quick ball movement on offense to free shooters from deep.
- Get Ayton involved in the offensive game plan early and often.
- Utilize the pick and roll to get Milwaukee’s big men switched on guards.
2021 NBA Finals Game 2 Betting Predictions
2021 NBA Finals Game 2 Player Prop Bets
Before getting hurt, Giannis had topped 30 points in seven of his previous eight playoff games. Despite attempting just 11 field goals and shooting 7-of-12 from the free-throw line, he still managed to net 20 points in Game 1. I expect Antetokounmpo to come out more aggressive in Game 2, attacking the rim and scoring more often than he did in Game 1, finishing with at least 27 points.
A few things have to change in Game 2 if the Bucks want to pull off the upset. We’ve talked about Giannis and Holiday needing to be more aggressive with their shots, and if that happens then Khris Middleton is naturally going to see an uptick in assists. Middleton has been active in the passing game lately, notching at least four assists in 11 straight games and averaging 6.1 dimes per game during that span. Accordingly, I like his chances of going over 4.5 assists in Game 2.
As mentioned, Ayton was a beast on the boards in Game 1 with 19 rebounds — his second-highest total of the playoffs. He also logged heavy minutes again, exceeding 35 for the fifth straight game. Given his dominance on both ends of the court, Ayton should be on the floor a lot in Game 2 and finish with another high rebounding total.
2021 NBA Finals Game 2 Single-Game Parlay
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks): Over 26.5 Points
- Khris Middleton (Bucks): Over 4.5 Assists
- Deandre Ayton (Suns): Over 12.5 Rebounds
Make a Single-Game Parlay with these bets (+513) at BetMGM:
Bucks vs Suns 2021 NBA Finals Schedule
- Game 1: Bucks 105, Suns 118
- Game 2: Thursday, July 8, at Phoenix, 9 p.m. ET (ABC)
- Game 3: Sunday, July 11, at Milwaukee, 8 p.m. ET (ABC)
- Game 4: Wednesday, July 14, at Milwaukee, 9 p.m. ET (ABC)
- Game 5: Saturday, July 17, at Phoenix, 9 p.m. ET (ABC)*
- Game 6: Tuesday, July 20, at Milwaukee, 9 p.m. ET (ABC)*
- Game 7: Thursday, July 22, at Phoenix, 9 p.m. ET (ABC)*