Milwaukee Bucks: 3 keys to victory in dire Game 3 vs. the Phoenix Suns

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - JULY 08 (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - JULY 08 (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, Phoenix Suns: Devin Booker
Jul 6, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Adversity awaits as the Milwaukee Bucks are set to square off against the Phoenix Suns in a crucial Game 3 of the NBA Finals tonight.

After dropping the first two games in Phoenix, this Milwaukee team finds themselves in an early hole that they will have to do some digging to get out of. Those first two games were far from the best the Bucks have played during this postseason run, and losing both contests by double-digits should certainly serve as a wake-up call for everyone involved.

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Perhaps playing in front of their vibrant home crowd at Fiserv Forum and getting an extra day’s worth of rest will help jolt some energy into the players, as this third installment in the series is a must-win for the Bucks.

While they would undeniably like to leave the past behind them and forget about the previous two matchups, there are several things they could learn to better prepare for Game 3. With that being said, here are three keys to victory for tonight’s battle between the Bucks and Suns.

The Milwaukee Bucks need Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday to get going in Game 3 vs. the Phoenix Suns

Among the biggest storylines in this series have been how little Milwaukee’s supporting cast has stepped up.

The first name that many are quick to bring up is Jrue Holiday, and rightfully so, as the guard has been downright awful on the offensive end in the first two games to kick off this series. Although he is playing a facilitating role well by handing out 16 assists, Holiday has failed to generate any offense for himself as he cannot buy a bucket whatsoever. The floor general has scored a mere 27 total points between Games 1 and 2, shooting a brutal 11-of-35 from the floor, including 1-of-7 from behind the arc.

A massive factor in this sluggish offense has been Holiday’s failure to capitalize close to the basket, which is something he has preached throughout this entire offseason when it comes to being more aggressive when looking to score. According to, Holiday is shooting a horrific 6-of-14 (42.9 percent) in the restricted area, an awful and 3-of-9 (33.3 percent) from the non-restricted painted area during this series. Those lackluster numbers are enough to make someone want to pull their hair out.

For whatever reason, the guard has lost his touch at the rim with the basketball in his hands, an area to which he previously thrived. Yet, despite this sluggish stretch, the team will need him to remain aggressive offensively to lighten the load off the other stars, but that entails taking smart shots and making them, particularly right at the rim. After poor performances in back-to-back games, Holiday’s ability to bounce back in Game 3 will be pivotal.

The same goes for Khris Middleton, who has had a shaky start on the offensive end to the series. Middleton led the team with a respectable 29 points in the opening loss, but it took him 26 shots to get there as he never found a groove until late. He followed that up in Game 2 with one of his worst playoff performances to date by scoring 11 points on 16 shots in the loss. The forward has had many mighty performances this postseason to elevate the Bucks, but with another stale performance fresh in everyone’s mind, all eyes will be fixated on him in Game 3 to see if he can step up when the team needs him.

Simply put, these two need to provide the proper reinforcement to Giannis Antetokounmpo. Just over a week removed from hyperextending his knee, the Greek Freak put the team on his back in Game 2 by scoring 42 points and grabbing 12 rebounds, but it was not enough as the Suns kept firm control of the game as this one-man army left everything out on the floor. This type of night from Holiday and Middleton cannot happen again if the Bucks will claw their way back into this series, and they must realize that with their backs against the wall trailing 0-2.