3 keys for the Milwaukee Bucks as they host shorthanded Phoenix Suns

Jul 14, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 14, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo. Phoenix Suns: Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges
PHOENIX, ARIZONA – JULY 08: (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) /

Giannis Antetokounmpo will need to have a better performance for the Milwaukee Bucks

I don’t know about you, but it seemed to me like the Phoenix Suns were determined to not let Antetokounmpo score 50 points against them again! I could be wrong, though.

If that was their plan, they sure as heck succeeded! He was held to 18 points on 44.6 percent true shooting but did chip in seven rebounds and eight assists. By Basketball Reference’s Game Score number, it was his third-worst game of the season at 12.8.

It’s not a huge surprise that they were able to limit his scoring, they do have the bodies to throw at him and play solid overall team defense to force him into tough shots or get the ball out of his hands.

Ayton was the primary defender and he must have been motivated by that 50-piece because he held Antetokounmpo to 2-of-8 shooting and a turnover. However, three of those misses were 3s and 2-of-5 on 2s isn’t as ugly. He also committed two shooting fouls, so it wasn’t all Ayton.

Jae Crowder and Mikal Bridges can both be disruptive and help provide an extra body to throw at Antetokounmpo on drives. Especially Bridges, I mean those arms are so long he can just swipe at balls on drives and make things very annoying.

We haven’t seen as much Antetokounmpo pick-and-roll with an empty corner as we have in the past, so perhaps that’s something they could go to just to open up some better looks.

I wouldn’t expect the Suns to be able to shut down Antetokounmpo the way they did last time, even if they have all of their best defensive pieces. We’ve seen it too many times before that he gets better the more times he sees a defense (Miami this season!).