Phoenix Suns cruise in Game 1 of Finals despite Giannis Antetokounmpo’s return for Milwaukee


Michael Tipton (Flickr)

Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks came alive at home in Game 3 of the Finals

Daniel Moreno, Reporter

The Phoenix Suns defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 118-105, in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, despite Bucks Power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo returning from a knee injury he suffered one week ago, against the Atlanta Hawks.

While the Bucks are known for their paralyzing defense, it was the Suns active hands that were able to control the pace of the game and keep Antetokounmpo from taking over.

Suns center Deandre Ayton kept the height-advantaged Bucks from creating too many second chances with a team-leading 19 rebounds.

Antetokounmpo started the game off with a pair of free throws that prompted Suns fans to keep the “Giannis shot clock” going, which started in Brooklyn, by loudly counting whenever he is at the line.

Shooting guard Devin Booker opened the scoring for the Suns in typical fashion, draining an 11-foot shot.

Booker would convert that initial basket into a hot start, scoring consecutive baskets to keep the Suns on pace with the Bucks early on.

Ayton helped add to the offensive momentum with several dazzling dunks and close-range shots, eventually scoring 22 points for the game.

The first quarter score reflected the back-and-forth play early in the game with Phoenix narrowly ahead at the end of the first frame, 30-26.

Chris Paul came alive in the second quarter to help maintain the Sun’s lead, he would score all of his 11 first-half points in the second.

Suns small forward Mikal Bridges stretched the halftime lead to eight with a beautiful 3-point shot late in the half.

The third quarter has typically been a time of weakness for the Suns — where opposing teams often caught up or built on their leads.  However, on Tuesday night, Phoenix was clearly locked in and looked like they wanted it more.

On the defensive end, Suns power forward Jae Crowder smothered the Bucks attacks.

On the offensive end, Paul led with an onslaught of shots, finishing the game with 32 points.

Even down 16 points to start the fourth, the Bucks seemed more engaged.

Milwaukee began closing the lead behind their All-Stars Antetokounmpo and shooting guard Khris Middleton.

Even though the Bucks were able to climb back to within seven points, they couldn’t overcome the dynamic duo in Booker and Paul down the stretch.

Booker wound up with 27 points and 6 assists.

Game 2 is scheduled for Thursday night at Phoenix Suns Arena.