The Milwaukee Bucks strike back in the NBA Finals, cruising to an emphatic 120-100 win over the Phoenix Suns in Game 3.
The Bucks had five players finish in double figures, led by Giannis Antetokounmpo's monster 41 points, while Jrue Holiday added 21 and Khris Middleton 18, as they cut the series deficit to 2-1.
Chris Paul led the Suns with 19 points and nine assists, while Deandre Ayton and Jae Crowder finished with 18 apiece.
Let's jump into the key takeaways at the buzzer:
Giannis rewrites the record books
Coming off a monster 42-point performance in Game 2, Antetokounmpo picked up right hwere he left off, taking the fight to the Suns in the paint.
He poured in 41 points, 13 rebounds and six assists on an efficient 14-of-23 from the field and 13-of-17 at the free throw line, relentelssly attacking the basket.
Giannis finished with 24 points in the restricted area (12-12 FG), tied for the most in an NBA Finals game over the last 25 years (LeBron James in 2017 and Shaquille O'Neal in 2004). pic.twitter.com/suEDv8BDaN- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 12, 2021
He joined Shaquille O'Neal as the only players in NBA Finals history to record back-to-back 40+ point, 10+ rebound games and became the fifth player since 2000 with 40/10/5 in a Finals game, alongside Shaquille O'Neal (2x) LeBron James (5x) Kevin Durant and Jimmy Butler, per StatMuse
The Bucks picked up the pace on their home floor and got the ball moving, creating a ton of open looks.
They closed the second quarter on a 30-9 run, fizzing the ball around the court to take a commanding 60-45 lead into the half as they outscored the Suns 34-5 on uncontested field goals in the opening 24 minutes.
They racked up 18 asissts in the first half alone after generating just 21 in both Games 1 and 2.
None better than this slick behind-the-back special from Jrue Holiday.
Jrue behind the back.- NBA (@NBA) July 12, 2021
FISERV FORUM IS ROCKING. #ThatsGame #NBAFinals on ABC pic.twitter.com/DIxayTSDUE
Holiday led the Bucks with nine dimes, while Anteotkounmpo and Khris Middleton added six apiece as they notched 28 dimes on 43 made field goals.
Devin Booker goes cold
Booker was the hero in Game 2, but his shooting touch eluded him on the road, connecting on just 3-of-14 from the field and 1-of-7 from deep, finishing with 10 points.
His 21.4 percent is his worst shooting night of the season.
"It wasn't well," Booker said post-game of his performance. "Obvioisly, but there's nights like that and the most important part to me is winning the game and we didn't do that so I'm more frustrated about that.
After he torched the Bucks for 31 points in Game 2, the Bucks defence made life tough for the All-Star guard, thanks to some strong defensive attention from Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday.
"Their aggresion, their defence, they keyed on him," Suns head coach monty Williams said postgame."He misses some shots, that's going to happen, he's been in this sutation before.
"He'll bounce back."
Foul trouble stifles Ayton
Deandre Ayton started the game on fire, dropping 16 points in the first 15 minutes of the game.
Deandre Ayton in the 1st quarter:- NBA (@NBA) July 12, 2021
6-7 FGM@Suns up 28-25 in Game 3 of the #NBAFinals presented by YouTube TV on ABC! pic.twitter.com/TvVSUhJ34K
He picked up a third foul with under 10 seconds to go in the second quarter and his fourth with 10:25 left in the third quarter, sitting out the remainder of the period.
When he checked bakc into the game, the Bucks had built a 22-point lead, with Antetokounmpo feasting at the rim in his absence.
"We got to protect him better, and make sure we're putting up that wall," Suns point guard Chris Paul said postgame.
Cam Johnson's Kodak moment
While the Bucks walked away with the win, Suns reserve Cam Johnson walked away with the play of the game.
In the third quarter, the 25-year-old hit the runway for this emphatic poster jam over P.J. Tucker!
CAM JOHNSON. OH MY GOODNESS. 😱 pic.twitter.com/K2EJveffNT- NBA TV (@NBATV) July 12, 2021
The Bucks will look to level the series in Game 4, scheduled for Wednesday, July 14, with tip-off at 9:00 p.m ET.
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