With 31 points and seven three-pointers, Devin Booker led the Suns past the Milwaukee Bucks despite Giannis Antetokounmpo having his finest playoff performance ever.
The Suns went into halftime with an 11-point advantage and held off the Bucks for the next 24 minutes on way to their ninth home playoff victory.
N.B.A. Finals Booker Leads Suns Over Bucks In Game 2
Following a Brook Lopez layup with 8:45 remaining, Milwaukee cut the deficit to 93-88, but Deandre Ayton converted a Chris Paul assist into a layup, and Devin Booker buried a three-pointer to swiftly restore a double-digit lead for the Suns.
The margin grew to 13 points as Booker made another three-pointer, but the Bucks stayed in it. In a 7-0 run that had Milwaukee within 103-97 with 5:15 to go, Jrue Holiday and Giannis Antetokounmpo scored all seven points, but this time it was Chris Paul who hit the three-pointer that put the game out of reach, increasing the lead to 108-103.
The Bucks, who had previously come back from a 2-0 deficit on the road to beat the Brooklyn Nets and advance to the Eastern Conference semi-finals, were never closer than eight points in the final four minutes this time around.
Booker scored 31 points, shooting 12-25 from the field and 7-12 from beyond the arc.
The Suns outscored the Bucks 60-27 from long range, going 20 for 40 (.600) thanks to three-pointers from Paul, Mikal Bridges, and Jae Crowder.
Bridges finished with 27 points (a new playoff career best), 8 for 8 from the line, and 7 boards.
After a great performance in Game 1, Paul continued his strong play with 23 points as the Suns took a commanding 2-0 lead in the series despite the Bucks outrebounding them 18 to 7 and shooting 2 for 4 from the free throw line.
With Crowder’s 11 points and Ayton’s 10 points and 11 rebounds, five of the Suns’ starters scored in double figures.
Antetokounmpo scored 20 of his 42 points in the third quarter and 30 in the second half. He also pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds. A final score of 48.9 to 45.2% meant it wasn’t enough for the underdog.
His previous postseason high was 41 points, set in the first round of the 2019 playoffs against Detroit.
Holiday scored 17 points, Pat Connaughton had 14, and Khris Middleton added 11 as the Bucks improved to 7-1 in their own building during the playoffs.
After a slow start in Game 1 prevented them from ever leading in the second half, the Bucks jumped out to a nine-point lead in Thursday’s first half before succumbing to a Suns blitz of three-pointers.
In the first half, Phoenix made 11 field goals and 11 free throws. During a 41-all tie in the second quarter, a 15-4 run capped by three-pointers from Crowder and Bridges flipped the momentum and gave the Hawks a 56-45 lead.