Milwaukee Bucks: 3 takeaways from season series with Phoenix Suns

Feb 10, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA (Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)
Feb 10, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA (Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) /
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MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – APRIL 19: (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – APRIL 19: (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks’ meetings against the Phoenix Suns went down to the wire

Last but certainly not least, we can only hope the captivating finishes between the Bucks and the Suns will serve as a precursor to what’s in store for these NBA Finals.

The tense affairs between the Bucks and Suns during the regular season tested the Bucks in ways that have only sharpened them further going into the postseason. No team played more clutch time minutes (13) against the Bucks this year than the Suns did.

Those thrilling finishes obviously didn’t end well in the Bucks’ favor. That loss back on February 10 saw the Bucks slip a 12-point lead as late as the third quarter that Phoenix quickly answered and forced the Bucks to have to come back from behind. In the end, a last-second jumper attempt from Antetokounmpo going awry.

A similar set of circumstances unfolded back on April that left the Bucks their only overtime defeat of the season. With 16 ties and 24 lead changes traded back with one another, the Bucks let slip a 7-point lead built late in the fourth quarter that the Suns answered and were able to eventually force overtime.

Even after losing Antetokounmpo to injury midway through the overtime period, the Bucks put themselves in a position to extend the game into double overtime until controversy arose from a questionable shooting foul called on P.J. Tucker. That left Booker to finish the win with the decisive free throw make and give the Suns the victory.

Because of those second half collapses and hard-fought meetings, the Suns finished with a +21.2 net rating over those aforementioned clutch time minutes. The Bucks have proven that they are much better than those late collapses against the Suns as evidenced by their +15.4 net rating over their 37 clutch time minutes in the playoffs.

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Still, those slip ups still prove relevant against a Suns team that will absolutely capitalize on the Bucks’ mistakes. Being able to put forth a complete performance, especially over those clutch late game minutes, will be crucial for the Bucks to achieve and complete their quest for an NBA championship.