The Milwaukee Bucks can’t ask for much more from Giannis Antetokounmpo than what he delivered. The Bucks need to ask for more from guards Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton.
Playing in his second game since missing the final two of the Eastern Conference finals with a hyperextended left knee, Antetokounmpo had 42 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, three blocks and one steal in the Phoenix Suns’ 118-108 victory against Milwaukee in Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.
Not that Antetokounmpo can’t do that in the next two games at home in Fiserv Forum. He can. But it feels like the Bucks squandered a tremendous performance from their two-time MVP and a chance to win on the road because Holiday and Middleton had poor offensive performances.
Holiday scored 17 points, Middleton had 11 and they were a combined 12-for-37 from the field and 2-for-9 on 3-pointers.
Holiday and Middleton were outscored 54-28 by Devin Booker and Chris Paul and have been outscored 113-67 by their backcourt counterparts in the two games.
“Knocking down some shots would make life a lot better for us,” Middleton said. “In the first half, I had more than a few go just in and out for me. So, that’s that. I’ll take them over and over again. Just didn’t hit them in the second half.”
In the 40 minutes Antetokounmpo played, the Bucks were three points better than the Suns. Even though Phoenix has led for six of the eight quarters, the Bucks in the fourth quarter were within two possessions in Game 2 and three possessions in Game 1. It’s hard to see down 2-0, but the Bucks aren’t that far from a 1-1 series.