Milwaukee Bucks: 5 most crucial matchups in NBA Finals vs. Phoenix Suns

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 10 (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 10 (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Khris Middleton, Phoenix Suns: Devin Booker
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – APRIL 19 (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

Khris Middleton’s matchup vs. Devin Booker will be crucial in NBA Finals between Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns

Speaking of budding stars, Devin Booker is seemingly making the transition to superstar status during these playoffs. He has been on a tear in his postseason debut, and Khris Middleton will likely receive the task of slowing him down for the Bucks.

Guarding Booker for 49.7 partial possessions during their two meetings this year, Middleton held the All-Star guard to 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting from the floor. Middleton did a solid job of defending Booker during their run together, and sticking him on the All-Star to start this series seems like the most logical and likely scenario. However, it will be a tall order for No. 22 as Booker is currently averaging an outstanding 27 points per game in these playoffs, lighting it up on the offensive end.

Of course, Middleton will receive some help from his supporting cast defensively, which is where this team’s versatility will come in. Although Jrue Holiday will be primarily busy elsewhere – more on that in a minute – someone who could find themselves on Booker is Tucker. In addition to guarding much bigger centers, Tucker’s versatility ranges from positions one through five, and he will see time guarding Booker at one point or another to put that tenacious defense to good use on the biggest stage.

On the opposite end of the floor, Booker will likely not see too much time guarding Middleton as the primary assignment – that will go to Mikal Bridges – but the 24-year-old will come face to face with him sooner or later. During the regular season, Middleton scored 15 points on Booker on a near flawless 5-of-6 shooting from the floor, 2-of-2 from behind the arc, and 3-of-3 from the charity stripe across 19.3 partial possessions. He saw success in that matchup, and keeping it consistent during the NBA Finals is obviously something to keep watch of as the series begins.