Phoenix Suns: 4 Keys to Slowing down Milwaukee Bucks Offense

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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The Phoenix Suns only have Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks standing between them and their first ever NBA championship. The betting odds show Phoenix as the slight favorites, per CBS Sports. I think the betting outlets are underestimating just how talented Milwaukee’s supporting cast is even without Giannis.

To recap, Giannis was out for the last two games against the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Finals due to a hyperextended left knee suffered during Game 4. But Milwaukee’s offense looked tremendous in Games 5 and 6 even without the two-time MVP. The trio of Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, and Brook Lopez stepped up in a major way, with timely contributions from PJ Tucker and Pat Connaughton as well to put away a pesky Atlanta squad.

How Milwaukee’s offense has adapted this season

The last time Giannis was injured in the playoffs, the Miami Heat dispatched the Milwaukee Bucks in 5 games during the NBA’s restart last season. As a result of their flameout in the bubble, there was speculation Giannis would leave Milwaukee for a larger market team such as the Golden State Warriors or the Miami Heat when he was scheduled to become a free agent this offseason. Giannis put that speculation to rest though when he signed a super-max contract extension to stay in Milwaukee a few months later.

Perhaps due to this pressure, Coach Mike Budenholzer has made adjustments to Milwaukee’s offense this season. Brook Lopez is posting up far more often this year. Giannis is screening more for Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday rather than just rolling hard to the basket. Budenholzer is running more double screens to get Middleton and Holiday open looks.

With that said, here are four keys for Phoenix to slow down Milwaukee’s new-look offense ahead Game 1 whether Giannis is playing—or not