Travel

Game preview: Shorthanded Suns travel to Milwaukee for Finals rematch

Game preview: Shorthanded Suns travel to Milwaukee for Finals rematch

What: Phoenix Suns (51-12) against Milwaukee dollars (39-25)

When: 1:30 p.m. AZ time

Or: Cavity Center

Look: ABC, Bally Sports Arizona

Listen: 98.7 FM

Line: The spread is currently listed at Suns+7.5 points on Draft Kings Sportsbook.


The Phoenix Suns just released thrilling winner of Cam Johnson’s game against the Knicks, and will seek to convey some of that momentum to this contest. They’ll do it even more shorthanded than they already were, with Cam Johnson joining Paul and Booker on the inactive list.

Johnson was ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Bucks with a bruised right quadriceps according to Arizona Republic’s Duane Rankin. Considering he just dropped a career-high 38 points, now isn’t the perfect time for him to run out of time.

The last time these two teams met, the Suns handed it over to Milwaukee, 131-107. Ayton put Giannis on a poster, another Mikal meme was born, and the size of the Suns surpassed the Bucks.

It will be a very different match for several reasons.

Projected starters

Phoenix Suns

  • Cam Payne
  • Landry Shamet
  • Mikal Bridges
  • Jae Crowder
  • Deandre Ayton

Milwaukee dollars

  • Holiday Jrue
  • Grayson Allen
  • Kris Middleton
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo
  • Bobby Portis

injury report

Phoenix

  • Chris Paul—OUT
  • Devin Booker—OUT
  • Cam Johnson—OUT
  • Frank Kaminsky—OUT
  • Dario Saric—OUT

Milwaukee

  • Brook Lopez—OUT
  • Wesley Matthews—OUT

What to watch

  • Who will score for Phoenix?

Phoenix will lose three of its top five scorers, including Johson who carried most of the offensive workload last game. They are going to need Deandre Ayton to wake up and Mikal Bridges to put together another solid game offensively no doubt.

Payne and Shamet will also need to play at an elite level for Phoenix to have a shot in this one against a tough Bucks team. A score-by-committee approach is what it’s going to take to keep the Suns competitive, but realistically I think they’re going to need that, coupled with someone’s escape game in order to pull off the upset.

Jrue and Aaron one-on-one will make for some interesting television. Along with that, Milwaukee now has former Phoenix Suns guard Jevon Carter on its roster. I imagine (Aaron) Holiday will see them both throughout the game.

Holiday is basically playing Jevon Carter last year, so the game should be outstanding and filled with a harassing pressure defense for 94 feet.

  • Ayton party? + Large Rotation

The Suns desperately need a vintage performance from Ayton at both ends to stay competitive against this Milwaukee team. Not only does he have to show up offensively to make up for the loss of their top scorers, but he has to find a way to contain Giannis and stay out of trouble.

Having JaVale, Bismack, Craig and Crowder at their disposal with Ayton gives them plenty of body to throw at him, a luxury they didn’t have in the NBA Finals.

My prediction

The Bucks win 117-106. I’m sorry, they’re just way too shorthanded here and the Bucks will want revenge for the first game they lost in Phoenix.


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