Milwaukee Bucks: Grades from disastrous Game 1 versus Phoenix Suns

Jul 6, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 6, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Pat Connaughton, Jrue Holiday, Phoenix Suns: Cameron Johnson, Chris Paul
Jul 6, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Milwaukee Bucks unfortunately continued their tradition of performing awfully in each and every Game 1 during this postseason last night.

Following an ugly 118-105 loss to the Phoenix Suns to start the NBA Finals, the Bucks move to just 1-3 in opening contests during this eventful playoff run. For whatever reason, this team is simply abysmal in series openers, and despite a promising start by rifling off an early lead it was on full display against the Suns throughout the game.

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Effort was a commonly used word when describing how the Bucks performed, and it certainly was not in a good way. They were getting outhustled, outmuscled, and genuinely outmatched as the sizzling Suns continued to punch them in the mouth from start to finish, to which the Bucks had no response whatsoever.

There is a long series ahead, and hopefully the next few contests do not resemble this opener at all. With that being said, here are player grades from a brutal Game 1.

How did the bench perform for the Milwaukee Bucks against the Phoenix Suns in Game 1 of the NBA Finals?

C+. Playing nearly 28-and-a-half minutes, Pat Connaughton played a key role for the Bucks during this opening game. Offensively, he knocked down some key shots and finished with eight points, but the bigger story was his effort on the defensive end. Connaughton was often targeted by Phoenix’s backcourt on switches, and they made him pay time and time again. The guard finished the contest with four fouls, making some boneheaded mistakes. He was featured heavily once the Bucks opted to run the small-ball lineup, and his minutes were a mixed bag. Yet, while +/- can be a flawed stat, Connaughton was just one of three Bucks to finish with a positive rating on the night, so he had that going for him.. SG. Milwaukee Bucks. PAT CONNAUGHTON

C. Returning to the bench after starting the team’s last two games, Bobby Portis did not stand out during his limited minutes. The big man scored a mere five points on five shot attempts while also pulling down three rebounds. Yet, he only played 14 minutes as the Suns were singling him out on the defensive end, and although he gave a valiant effort in those mismatches, it was to no avail as they continuously made the Bucks pay. It was a letdown after his back-to-back games to help the Bucks close out the Conference Finals, and time will tell how it impacts his playing time moving forward in this series.. C. Milwaukee Bucks. BOBBY PORTIS

Milwaukee Bucks. BRYN FORBES. C-. Bryn Forbes has not quite found a groove after flat out dominating against the Miami Heat in round one, and that continued to be the case last night. The guard looked promising as he scored six points off the bench while knocking in two triples, but his shot selection continues to be a looming issue as he took an ill-advised stepback two-point jump shot off one leg, which missed. The Bucks had been making a run to that point in the game as they were clawing their way back, but that puzzling shot from Forbes seemingly deflated the team. Forbes is certainly not to blame for the loss entirely, and it was nice to see him finally knock down some of his triples. Next time around, no more stepback two-pointers off one leg in a close game, please.. SG

D. Watching Jeff Teague take the floor this postseason has been strange, particularly because of his odd decision-making on the offensive end. The guard appeared to be providing a spark for the Bucks as he knocked down a triple early during his minutes but then turned it over on the very next trip down the floor because he wanted to drive toward the basket without even remotely a good look at a shot. Although he has made his living in the NBA as a solid floor general, Teague cannot hijack Milwaukee’s offense like this in an attempt to force difficult looks that disrupt things entirely. There is a reason why he played just nine-and-a-half total minutes in this first game, which might have been too many anyway.. PG. Milwaukee Bucks. JEFF TEAGUE