All the Bucks can do now is live by LeBron James motto, “A series doesn’t start until both teams play a home game.”
Trailing the Suns by a 2-0 series count in the Finals, the Bucks are heading back to Milwaukee for Game 3 on Sunday night. That’s about the only good news.
“We know what the deal is,” Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo said. “We’ve got to go back home and protect home.”
Despite missing the final two games of the Eastern Conference finals with a hyperextended knee, Antetokounmpo has been brilliant, erupting for 41 points and giving his team a fighting chance in Game 2.
“Giannis had a great game getting to the basket, penetrating,” said guard Jrue Holiday. “I feel like we did a pretty good job of penetrating and making plays for other people, but just got to do it a little bit better.”
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- The Bucks managed to win both games in the East finals without Antetokounmpo, but they very clearly will need more from the other guys in the Finals. That means Holiday and Khris Middleton, both of whom have been less-than-stellar in the first two games. “”No matter what’s going on, you’ve got to stay aggressive and you cannot get in your feelings,” Antetokoumpo said. “It’s hard not to. You know, NBA Finals, 20,000 people booing you and all that, it’s kind of hard.”
- Antetokounmpo stressed that he has Holiday’s back. “I know he’s going to be there when we need him the most and I don’t worry about it. He’s a great basketball player. He’s played great all year and he’s going to continue to play great for this team.”
- Meanwhile, Middleton went 5-of-16 shooting in Game 2. He has yet to attempt a free throw in the Finals. “I think no matter what we say, we know what the deal is,” Antetokounmpo said. “It’s as simple as that. We’ve got to go back home and do our job. They did their job. We’ve got to do our job.”
- On the bright side, the Bucks can use the East semis vs. the Nets as their guide. They trailed that series, 2-0, then came back to win in seven games. “We’ve been here before and we were able to get the job done,” Antetokounmpo said. “Hopefully we can put ourselves in position and we can believe in one another and we can play together and we can have fun.”