Milwaukee Bucks: Keys to victory in NBA Finals Game 1 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: Bryn Forbes, Phoenix Suns: Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – APRIL 19 (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns are set to tip-off Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Finals tonight in the Copper State.

This matchup has the potential to be an epic clash, and the Bucks understand the importance of making a good first impression. After all, they have had to battle back in each of the last two rounds, dropping the first two games against the Brooklyn Nets in the Semifinals and then dropping the first game of the Conference Finals on their home floor against the Atlanta Hawks.

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Although they have shown that they can dig themselves out of a hole, this team is certainly motivated to start the series off on a different note and look to start on a high note during their first Finals game in nearly 50 years.

Setting the tone in Game 1 on the road will be the top priority for the Bucks, and they must prepare for yet another chess match in The Valley tonight. For them to secure a victory, here are three keys for the Bucks in this opening game.

The Milwaukee Bucks must limit the Phoenix Suns’ red-hot 3-point shooting in Game 1 of the NBA Finals

The Bucks have had trouble defending the 3-pointer throughout the Mike Budenholzer era, and that was apparent during the two regular season meetings with the Suns.

Phoenix shot an impressive 43.8 percent from behind the arc in those matchups, simply lighting it up from deep. Considering the Bucks lost both of those games by one point apiece, defending the perimeter just a tad better could have potentially changed the outcome of those games entirely. However, this is not the time to dwell on the past, just to make note that the Suns – like many teams oftentimes do – caught fire against the Bucks on two occasions.

They have been among the better shooting teams in this postseason also as they are currently shooting 37.3 percent on 30.1 attempts across 16 games played. The Suns are stacked with many talented outside shooters within their supporting cast, including Cameron Johnson, Dario Saric, and Mikal Bridges. One name that stands out among the bunch is Jae Crowder, who Bucks fans will remember from last year’s second round series against the Miami Heat. Crowder went scorched earth and torched Milwaukee from deep, and they must not allow history to repeat itself with him or any of their other keys players.

To their credit, the Bucks have done a solid job of limiting their opponent’s outside shooting by holding them to 34.4 percent across 17 games this postseason. Yet, they will be put to the test once more against a Phoenix team that is not afraid to let it fly and also has the personnel aboard to catch fire in a hurry. The Bucks could stand to finally break out of their shooting slump and hit their own shots from distance as well, as 3-point shooting will be a hot topic in this series.