The Phoenix Suns and the Milwaukee Bucks are going to take part in their first elimination game of the 2021 NBA Finals. Milwaukee has won three straight games to take a 3-2 lead in this series and find themselves on the precipice of their first title since the Oscar Robertson era. Phoenix, meanwhile, will look to force a Game 7 and head home with all of the momentum if they can win this contest.
The Phoenix Suns got off to a red-hot start in the first quarter of Game 5 against the Milwaukee Bucks. They led 37-21 after the first quarter and looked like they would cruise to a win in that pivotal matchup. But the defense of the Suns let them down, as Phoenix gave up 102 points in the final three quarters of the game to let the Bucks overtake them for the series lead.
If Phoenix is going to win Game 6 of this series, they will have to do a better job of containing Giannis Antetokounmpo, something they have struggled with all series long. Giannis made 14 of his 23 shot attempts in Game 5, including several easy looks at the rim that Phoenix seemed powerless to contain. The Suns will have to do a better job of preventing Giannis from getting to the rim if they are going to avoid elimination in Game 6. Chris Paul and Devin Booker also have to click offensively to keep the Bucks at bay.
For the Milwaukee Bucks, Game 6 is a golden opportunity for them to win the NBA championship. Playing at home, in front of a full arena of fans who haven’t seen their team win a title in half a century should be plenty to propel Milwaukee to play their best here. But the Bucks will not be celebrating unless they can play better defense than they did in Game 5, where the Suns lit them up from long range.
Phoenix shot 68% from three-point range in Game 5 of this series, making 13 of their 19 shots from beyond the arc. For the Bucks to win this series, that cannot happen again, as another efficient shooting night from the Suns combined with some shooting regression from the Bucks could mean a Game 7 is in the cards.
Also important for the Bucks will be the performances of Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday. They were brilliant in Game 5, making it so that Giannis did not have to do all of the heavy lifting in that game. If they can do the same thing in Game 6, the series could come to an end.
The Pick: Under 222
Both teams absolutely lit it up from the field and from three-point range in Game 5. In Game 6, expect both teams to come out with a renewed emphasis on defending, which should see field goal percentages decrease to some degree. The under 222 is the best bet for this matchup, as the offensive performances from Saturday seem unsustainable, especially with so much on the line in Game 6.