Phoenix Suns vs. Milwaukee Bucks Prediction: Game 3 Picks
It’s getting late early for the Milwaukee Bucks. Fortunately, their best weapons are getting a change of scenery.
Suns vs. Bucks Prediction - Game 3
Let’s start with the bad news for the Milwaukee Bucks: only four teams that have gone down 0-2 in the NBA Finals have gone on to win the series. Of the two times it’s happened in the last 40 years, one team contained LeBron James and Kyrie Irving (the 2016 Cavs) and the other had slightly pre-prime Dwyane Wade and slightly post-prime Shaquille O’Neal (the 2006 Heat).
The star players on the Bucks have some ways to go before they’re in that level of historic company, but at least Game 3 will present them with a change of scenery. Of the 16 teams that made the final playoff field, only the Brooklyn Nets have a greater disparity between their home and road net ratings than Milwaukee.
The Bucks have outscored opponents by 13.3 points per 100 possessions when they play on their home floor, and have a 7-1 record in Milwaukee to show for it. On the road, they’re now 5-6 (and 3-6 in their last nine) and are getting outscored by 2.1 points per 100 when playing away from the friendly confines of Wisconsin.
The bad news is that Phoenix is pretty good when they hit the road, posting a positive 5.6 net rating outside of Arizona. They have also now put together a 14-4 record in this postseason, and are 13-2 in their last 15 games. They haven’t played a truly bad game in months, and are supremely confident every time they step foot on the court right now.
That proficiency is why this line is as low as it is. A team that has put forth the level of play the Bucks have will usually be given more of a benefit of the doubt coming home down 0-2, but then again, this line also speaks to the struggles of two of Milwaukee’s three best players.
Giannis Antetokounmpo may be coming off an otherworldly 45-point effort and is now shooting 63.6 percent for the series, but he’s only taken the third most shots on the team. The top two Bucks in field goal attempts – Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday – are shooting a combined 28-for-77 for a mark of 36.3 percent.
Again, we have reason to be hopeful. At home in the postseason, Holiday is shooting 45.7 percent from the field – over eight percent higher than he is in away games - while Middleton is at 47.5 percent, which is over seven percent higher than his road clip. Devin Booker, meanwhile, is shooting about six percent worse on the road than at home in the playoffs.
Both Milwaukee guys will shoot better on Sunday if for no other reason than they can’t shoot much worse. Even so, Game 2 was close.
If even one of Holiday or Middleton comes to play and Giannis keeps up his rampaging ways, the Bucks will be right back in this series. Count on it happening.