Milwaukee Bucks: Keys to victory in NBA Finals Game 2 vs. Phoenix Suns

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - JULY 06 (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - JULY 06 (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Pat Connaughton, Phoenix Suns: Chris Paul
PHOENIX, ARIZONA – JULY 06 (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks must figure out their defensive identity in Game 2 of the NBA Finals vs. the Phoenix Suns

The biggest storyline of the night was how Milwaukee’s formidable defense got exploited consistently by Phoenix’s backcourt.

Chris Paul would do everything possible to get the mismatch by targeting the towering tandem of Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis. He was successful in doing so in his Finals debut by scoring 32 points, doing massive damage when matched up against Milwaukee’s big men. Paul scored 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting when guarded by Lopez, and added five more against Portis on a perfect 2-of-2 shooting. Although Lopez and Portis did their part to contest the shots, it was to no avail as Paul consistently buried those jumpers.

The Bucks opted to run small-ball with Giannis at center late in the contest because having these two on the floor proved to be a death sentence, and it showed some promise. However, given what both Lopez and Portis bring to the table, it is always difficult cutting their minutes down this mightily. Head coach Mike Budenholzer is certainly not going to fully adapt to small-ball, and he must devise a better scheme to keep these two on the floor.

Although Devin Booker saw success in the same area, it was an overall tough shooting night for him as he went just 8-of-21 from the floor. The Bucks made things hard for him when throwing Jrue Holiday in his direction. Booker missed all six of his shot attempts when being guarded by the All-Defensive guard. Yet, he continued hunting out those mismatches to get Holiday off him, while also getting a favorable whistle as the guard shot 10 free throw attempts on the night.

Keeping Booker and Paul in check is still the top priority for the Bucks. They have the personnel defensively to make it a challenge whenever either of them touches the ball, but they must find the best plan of attack to utilize it. Now that they have a better read of how things might go after getting beat in Game 1, they are back to the drawing board looking to combat it.

Next. Milwaukee Bucks: 3 improvements to make after Game 1 loss to Phoenix Suns. dark

The Bucks and Suns will square off yet again tonight in Phoenix for a highly-anticipated Game 2 matchup. Be sure to catch the action at 8:00 p.m. CST on ABC.