The NBA Finals are heating up with the series standing at 3-2 in favor of the Milwaukee Bucks. Giannis Antetokounmpo is playing like the runaway Finals MVP by averaging 29.2 PPG, 12.8 RPG, and 5.3 APG, while stars such as Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday are doing everything to help him win. The Bucks are in a great position right now and are one win away from being NBA champions for the first time since 1971. But will the Bucks get it done in Game 6?
They have a tough game ahead of them because Phoenix have their backs against the wall. And anytime a trio of stars such as Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and Deandre Ayton are forced to win; you will expect them to deliver. After all, their fairytale season isn’t over yet. Nobody expected Phoenix to be this good this season but they are legitimate title contenders and have a great shot to force a Game 7 in Milwaukee’s house. Luckily for Phoenix, the pivotal Game 7 will be at their house.
With the Bucks tasting champagne and the Suns fighting for their lives, here is who will come out on top in Game 6.
The Reasons Phoenix Will Survive Another Game
The Suns cannot afford to let their season slip away. Chris Paul will be 37 next year and there is doubts about his ability to stay healthy and play at an All-Star level after another full season. After all, Paul has a lot of mileage on his Hall of Fame legs. The point guard has already played 1090 games in his career with an average of 34.6 MPG across 5 franchises. Not to mention, Paul is injury-prone. He is always dealing with injuries and at his age, he won’t recover as fast. With Paul’s season slipping away, the Suns can expect a virtuoso performance from their leader. When Paul pays well, the Suns play well.
Next, Devin Booker is primed for a big game. He is averaging 27.7 PPG in the playoffs so far and can be expected to drop at least 35 points to lead the Suns to victory. He will not sit back and wait for Paul to initiate the offense like in Game 5 and will take matters into his own hands. Booker is the best pure scorer in the series and he will be looking for his shot early. With Booker looking to dominate offensively and Paul playing more focused, Phoenix will fight with their backs against the wall. That will make Phoenix particularly dangerous as they will be full-throttle all game long.
The Bucks Can End The Series And Win The Championship
While Phoenix will start the game as rabid dogs, the Bucks have the confidence and the momentum. Despite losing the first 2 games of the series, Milwaukee have turned it up an entirely different notch. They are playing magnificent defense and are playing much smarter by feeding Giannis inside and also giving Middleton his shot attempts. Winning 3 games in a row means the Bucks have all the confidence in the world and will be hungry to finish Phoenix off once and for all.
The Bucks are at risk of playing complacently because they can afford to lose Game 6, but head coach Mike Budenholzer will make sure Giannis and company end it now. The Bucks do not want to go into Footprint Center and try to win the championship then, and would rather get it done on their home floor. Nothing would be more suitable than seeing Giannis lifting an NBA trophy on his home floor. Speaking of Giannis, he is without a doubt the best player in the series.
The Bucks can enter Game 6 with the best player on the floor because he impacts the game on both ends of the floor. On defense, Giannis already has one of the greatest blocks in NBA Finals history. On offense, he is bigger and more athletic than anyone in Phoenix. If the Bucks play smart and feed Giannis inside, they are taking the championship home with them. As great as Giannis is, he needs Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday to show up. Holiday cannot afford to have an off-shooting night and must continue to play All-NBA quality defense on Chris Paul, while Middleton must continue his clutch scoring. With momentum on their side and the confidence among each other, Giannis can expect Middleton and Holiday to perform at their best.
Final Prediction: Phoenix Forces A Game 7
Even if Milwaukee has all the momentum, the series will continue on to a pivotal Game 7. Chris Paul has had time over the past 3 games by turning the ball over 5 times per game and is not playing like the superstar point guard he truly is. Even if his numbers are solid, Phoenix need more from their leader. After all, Booker and Ayton are playing in their first playoffs. With his legacy on the line, Chris Paul will probably show up. Expect Paul to be focused, hungry, and looking for his co-stars all game long.
More specifically, Devin Booker will have one of his best games of the playoffs so far. He will come out aggressive and looking to put pressure on Middleton and Holiday and will have the mindset of going down guns blazing. Monty Williams has proven to be an ultimate motivator, and he will do just that for Booker and also Deandre Ayton. Ayton has been spectacular on the boards, but he will be given space to dominate Brook Lopez inside. Chris Paul will probably handle the ball extremely well, focus on feeding his stars, and playing smart on defense.
Giannis and the Bucks will not go down without a fight, but the Suns’ trio will outplay that of the Bucks to force a Game 7. Chris Paul cannot afford to have his legacy tarnished any longer and it is time for him to prove himself as a top-5 point guard of all time. The game will likely be close until the end, but Phoenix will have the momentum heading into the do-or-die Game 7 for all the marbles.