Milwaukee Bucks vs. Phoenix Suns Prediction: Game 1 Picks
It’s Game 1 of the Finals that absolutely no one anticipated. Who has the edge? Who should be concerned? And is there an edge to be found in the line? Let’s dig in, here's my Bucks vs Sun prediction..
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Phoenix Suns Prediction
Any and all conversation about the matchup between these two teams has to begin with the status of the two-time MVP.
As of Monday early afternoon, Giannis Antetokounmpo is “day to day.” That doesn’t exactly give us much clarify.
We can also reference the reports from before Game 6 which stated that should Atlanta have forced a Game 7, Giannis would have tried to give it a go, and there was some optimism he’d have been able to play.
Game 7 would have been on Monday, and Game 1 of the Finals is set for Tuesday, with Game 2 scheduled or Thursday and Game 3 in Milwaukee not until Sunday.
By that first Bucks home game, one has to figure that Antetokounmpo will be as close to 100 percent as he’s going to get before the offseason. If we go by the old Pat Riley adage that a playoff series doesn’t begin until the road team wins a game, then we might assume that Milwaukee will play it on the safe side with Giannis and hold him out until Game 3.
At the very least, it’s tough to see them rushing him back for Game 1, especially with his teammates having been able to win two consecutive games against the Hawks in somewhat convincing fashion without him.
One look at the line also reflects the fact that Vegas also doesn’t think the Greek Freak will be back for the opener, so neither should we. At that point, we have to assess how well a Suns team who went 12-4 against the Western side of the bracket will fare against an Eastern counterpart missing its best player.
Maybe not as well as we think. This would be as good a time as any to remember that of those 12 playoff games the Suns won, precisely zero of those came against teams that had both of their best players healthy and operational. Kawhi Leonard missed all of the conference finals, Jamal Murray was out for the second round, and the closest Phoenix came to facing a healthy Lakers team was in Games 2 and 3 of the first round. The Suns lost both games.
We’ve heard players say before that the Finals are a different animal from the rest of the playoffs, and this is the first appearance for the entirety of both rosters. But only one of those rosters will look at Game 1 – at home, against a team missing its top dog – as a must win. That equals pressure.
Phoenix still probably wins, but it’ll be close. That only means one thing.