Milwaukee Bucks: Takeaways from thrilling Game 3 win over Phoenix Suns

Jul 11, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 11, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /
3 of 3
Milwaukee Bucks: P.J. Tucker, Phoenix Suns: Devin Booker
Jul 11, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

The Milwaukee Bucks tighten up their defense in Game 3 win over Phoenix Suns

Milwaukee’s defense had undoubtedly been poor throughout the first two games, looking like a shell of themselves. Understanding that they would have to ramp up the aggression and get the defense back to a formidable level to limit the Suns’ offensive capabilities, the Bucks looked great on that end of the court all night long.

This was particularly evident based on the play from Phoenix’s stellar backcourt of Chris Paul and Devin Booker. These two had torched the Bucks previously, but they emphasized making looks tougher and not allowing them to create the mismatches they previously relied so heavily on as easy as it was the first two games.

Booker had an off night shooting the basketball across his 29 minutes played by totaling a mere 10 points on 3-of-14 shooting, including 1-of-7 from deep. While he simply missed several shots, the Bucks did not make it any easier on him by giving him different looks defensively from Holiday, Middleton, Antetokounmpo, and a dash of P.J. Tucker. Holding the lethal scorer to 10 points is a rare feat, and the Bucks must keep it consistent with this aggressive style that never allowed him to find a rhythm with the ball.

As for Paul, he finished with 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting, making just one shot from deep in four attempts. The guard is known for his tough shot-making abilities, and although they were on display throughout this Game 3 on numerous occasions, the Bucks did a solid job of defending him by matching him up against different personnel, including several of the names that saw time guarding Booker. The guard had feasted on Milwaukee’s big men like Brook Lopex and Bobby Portis, but they game planned this time around to prevent that from happening as frequently.

They did a far better job of ensuring that Phoenix would not get open looks on the perimeter, holding them to 9-of-31 shooting from deep. A massive portion of those made triples came from Jae Crowder, who chipped in six of his own in seven attempts. He simply caught fire from range, but the Bucks did a much better job defending the other players by preventing them from catching the hot hand once more.

All in all, the defense looked far like the Bucks that have built a reputation on defense during this postseason run. They will have to keep their foot on the gas and continue this style of play as the series progresses, particularly against these two guards who had their way with the team in the first two contests.

Next. Milwaukee Bucks: 3 key X-factors vs. Phoenix Suns in the NBA Finals. dark

It was a thrilling Game 3 as the Bucks defeated the Suns, and all eyes will now shift to a pivotal Game 4 with the latter leading the series 2-1. That should be another must-see game, and be sure to catch the action at 8:00 p.m. CST on ABC this Wednesday.