The Phoenix Suns had drawn on their faces a smile from ear to ear. Normal. Only Jae Crowder had tasted victory in an NBA Finals, and he himself knows that one does not lead to the final title. They have repeated it ad nauseam in the previous one and it was heard last night: four triumphs.
The distance to glory has been shortened for Phoenix with a 118-105 victory over the Milawukee Bucks in the first game of the title tie, a match that dominated the home side through and through despite surprise return of Giannis Antetokounmpo by the rival.
“I had no idea what was going to happen, but we had prepared for both scenarios,” explained Devin Booker., the young star of the whole of Arizona. “Know your presence something took away our worry and we were able to focus on what we needed to do. I’ve said it before but we only worry about ourselves ”.
The 24-year-old guard shared the hidden key to victory in the first game with the press: “Just team defense. We have all communicated. We don’t want to play score and miss, we want opponents to fail and defend at the highest level. Our success depends on the defense, and if we don’t score, neither do they.
Part of that excellent work ended up in the hands of the Bahamian Deandre ayton, which debuted with 22 points and 19 rebounds (8-10 TC). Their numbers were not seen in a debutant of the NBA Finals since the irruption of Tim duncan in 1999.
“I want to put pressure on the rim and at the same time protect it,” valued the pivot, key in the blocking game and devastating continuation of Phoenix that last night punished Milwaukee without background. “I have a good time because I got up thinking that we are one match closer and my teammates keep me focused on the goal ”.
The Suns ended up with 20 transition points and you will get 20 points advantage. The key to everything, according to the protagonists, was the choral effort. “We have been very strong at the back, and we have stopped the rival. We are altruistic and we play fast, so a good defense means a good counterattack, “he explained. Mikal bridges, author of 14 points. “It’s a team effort: get stops and run to the other side.”
Antetokounmpo, after his surprise return, wanted to make it clear that his knee is no longer a factor in the narrative: “This is not about my knee, and I’ll just say it one more time, my knee is fine. “ The Greek sent a message to the team: “We are in the NBA Finals and we have to enjoy the experience. Now it’s time to focus and win the second game ”.
That victory would give the Bucks something very precious, the field advantage by traveling to Wisconsin with the tie tie. It is easy to say but difficult to apply. His pick-and-roll game is hard to defend, and I think we should improve game by game, “said Mike Budenholzer, coach of the Bucks.
“We are going to review the video well and try to see how to complicate things to take away some of the rhythm. It will be key to improve in the second game “.
The next round of the NBA Finals 2021 arrives at dawn from Thursday to Friday from 3:00 a.m. on the peninsula.