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: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Phoenix Suns: Devin Booker
PHOENIX, ARIZONA – JULY 08 (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks must limit Devin Booker and Chris Paul in Game 3 vs. the Phoenix Suns

Arguably the biggest key to victory for the Bucks entering this entire series was slowing down the talented tandem of Devin Booker and Chris Paul. They are the engine that makes that team go, and Milwaukee’s reputable defense has failed to keep them in check to any extent over the first two games played in this matchup.

Booker has been on a scoring tear as he is averaging 29 points on 43.5 percent field goal shooting, including 40 percent from behind the arc. The natural-born scorer has torched the Bucks, and it is clear that they cannot sustain this assault for much longer. Two players that should see more time against Booker are Jrue Holiday and Giannis Antetokounmpo. According to, the guard has shot just 1-of-9 when being defended by Holiday, and 2-of-6 by Antetokounmpo.

These two all-world defenders have the tools to slow him down, and they will be the key to slowing him down moving forward. Booker will consistently try to get a mismatch in his favor by drawing Brook Lopez or Bobby Portis as his primary defender, but the Bucks need to make it harder on him to score. Yet, even when he gets that advantage, he has simply made an array of tough shots that the players can only tip their hat to afterward. Yet, with a First Team All-Defense guard and Defensive Player of the Year in the fold, the Bucks have the personnel to turn things around defensively.

As for Paul, he has been carving up the Bucks offensively by averaging 27.5 points while shooting 56.4 percent from the floor and 58.3 percent from three. Handing out an impressive 8.5 assists as well, the Bucks have been unable to combat his vigorous assault on the offensive end. Holiday has not managed to replicate that same defensive excellence on Paul that he has Booker, as CP3 is shooting 7-of-10 (5-of-5 from deep) when defended by Holiday.

One player that has seen his share of success on Paul defensively is P.J. Tucker, who has played impactful defense all throughout these playoffs. The defensive ace has done a great job defending his former teammate by holding him to 2-of-6 shooting, and although this is a rather unorthodox matchup given the positions, it is one this team must continue utilizing. The same switching will occur here as Paul has exploited Milwaukee’s big men, but this team must prevent themselves from getting picked apart by these two once more.

If the Bucks continue letting these two run wild and tear them to shreds with their crafty offense, the same problems from the first two games will arise once more.