The Bucks bench needed to step up to beat the Suns in Game 3

The Milwaukee bench needed to give the team a boost in Game 3.
Image: Getty Images

Because the Milwaukee Bucks didn’t get the consistency needed from co-stars Giannis Antetokoumnpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, their bench was unfairly forced to compensate excessively, and they didn’t.

In Game 1, The Phoenix Suns’ and Bucks’ tilt contributed 22 points everyone, but Milwaukee needed more hence, given Giannis ’limitations relieved by his hyperextended knee, and and 4-for-14 10-point duds from Jrue Holiday. Pat Connaughton led the reserve with eight points in 28 minutes. Otherwise, Mike Budenholzer chose to play at the end of the Eastern Conference finhaling rising star Bobby Portis 14 minutes, Bryn Forbes saw 12, and Jeff Teague recorded 10. Those three accumulated 14 points on a collective shot of 5 of 11.

For Phoenix, it is the bench matched the 22nd in Milwaukee, which was all that was needed for his 118-105 elimination. Chris Paul, Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton all came together for 81 points on 56 percent shooting, Mikal Bridges added 14, and off the bench, Cameron Payne and Cameron Johnson added 10 each to 50 percent of shooting. Torrey Craig had the other two.

In Game 2, The Bucks reserves had to produce too much, but they didn’t hold on to their 118-108 loss Thursday night. Connaughton gained 14 healthy points and added seven rebounds while shooting 5 for 10. Aside from that, Teague shot 1 for 4 and had four points in 12 minutes. Forbes hit 1-for-3 shots, scoring three points in six minutes. And Portis was limited to just five minutes, compensating for two points on the 1 for 2 shot, equivalent to nine points on the 3 for 9 shot for the group that is not Connaughton. The Suns only needed 16 points though from Johnson (8), Craig (6), and Payne (2), which were a collectively more efficient (5 for 10).

Why did they need a minimum production from their reserves? We look at beginners.

Phoenix Alone

  • Devin Booker: 31 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, 12-for-25 FG, 7-for-12 3PT
  • Mikal Bridges: 27 points, 7 rebounds, 8-15 FG
  • Chris Paul: 23 points, 8 assists, 10-20 FG, 3-5 3PT
  • Jae Crowder: 11 points, 10 rebounds, 4-8 FG, 3-5 3PT
  • DeAndre Ayton: 10 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 faces, 2 blocks

Milwaukee Bucks

  • Giannis Antetokoumnpo: 42 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks, 15-22 FG, 11-18 FT
  • Jrue Holiday: 17 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, 7-21 FG, 1-3 3PT
  • Khris Middleton: 11 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds, 5-16 FG, 1-6 3PT
  • Brook Lopez: 8 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks, 4-10 FG, 0-2 3PT
  • PJ Tucker: 7 points, 5 rebounds, 3-5 FG

It’s simple, but it’s the difference. The imbalance has hampered the Bucks all season, and that’s what led the Suns to the postseason, to two wins from a title. If the Bucks beginners don’t get away with it, their bench will have to compensate excessively, and given what we’ve seen, it seems unlikely, unless it’s a matter of home-court advantage. Banks tend to do more effectively at home during the playoffs, so the Bucks hope Games 3 and 4 provide good luck. They need everything they can get.

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