NBA Finals

Suns’ long-range shooting sinks Bucks for 2-0 lead

Suns’ long-range shooting sinks Bucks for 2-0 lead

STAR POWER. Suns guard Devin Booker tries to get Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo out of the way in second-half action of Game 2.

Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Devin Booker and the Suns overcome a 42-point effort from Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo to take Game 2

The Phoenix Suns took a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals by beating Milwaukee, 118-108, overcoming a 42-point effort from the Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo on Thursday, July 8 (Friday, July 9, Manila time)

Devin Booker led the way for Phoenix with 31 points, Mikal Bridges tallied 27, and Chris Paul contributed 23 to leave the Suns two wins away from their first championship.

Antetokounmpo was outstanding throughout, dominating in the paint and on the glass, but received little help from his supporting cast as the team shot a miserable 9-of-31 from three-point range.

Booker’s 30-point outing was his eighth during his first career postseason. He reached that mark at least one in every series.

On Thursday, he shot 12-for-25 from the floor, including 7-for-12 from three-point range.

“Devin wants to prove to everybody he’s one of the best players in the league, but not just from a stats, numbers perspective. He wants to prove it by winning,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “And he’s getting the chance to do it on the big stage.”

Booker’s long-range accuracy was contagious. Paul, Bridges, and Jae Crowder drilled three three-pointers apiece as the Suns became just the third team in NBA history to make 20 or more in a Finals game. The Cleveland Cavaliers hit 24 in a 2017 game, and Golden State Warriors sank 20 in a 2019 game.

As a team, the Suns went 20-for-40 from beyond the arc, outscoring the Bucks 60-27 from deep.

Milwaukee started strong, with Antetokounmpo looking determined to avenge their convincing Game 1 defeat, but the Suns offense caught fire in the second quarter, outscoring the Bucks, 30-16, to take a 56-45 lead into halftime.

Antetokounmpo continued to fight in the second half, at one point reeling off 13 straight points before the Bucks cut the deficit to five points in the fourth quarter on an alley-opp to Brook Lopez.

But the Suns, who connected on 20 three-pointers, pushed the tempo and played stout defense to deliver the win before a rocking crowd at Phoenix Suns Arena.

Not everything went the Suns way though.

For the second straight game they lost a valuable role player when Torrey Craig suffered a right knee injury after colliding with a driving Antetokounmpo in the final minute of the third quarter.

The Suns lost backup forward Dario Saric in Game 1 when he tore his right anterior cruciate ligament.

The best-of-seven series moves to Milwaukee for Game 3 on Sunday. –

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