Of all the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns basketball pros, only one has ever played in an NBA final. Game one was also a premiere for leaders Giannis Antetokounmpo and Chris Paul. This becomes an exclamation point for the veteran.
In the first NBA final of his career, Chris Paul was simply everywhere: The 36-year-old veteran directed his teammates from the Phoenix Suns with all his class to the 118: 105 opening win against the Milwaukee Bucks.
He stole the ball from his opponent once and organized one or the other whistle and free throw with the whole routine of 16 years in the best basketball league in the world. The Bucks could count on the last injured two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo – but the show in Phoenix clearly belonged to Chris Paul.
“We have been working towards these moments all season,” said number three of the Suns. “We will continue. It was just a game. We have to stay focused. ” A team needs four wins in a maximum of seven final duels to win the title.
Chris Paul recorded 32 points, four rebounds and nine assists in the statistics categories at the end, but his value for the Suns, who have never been champions in the NBA, could not be properly read from these numbers.
Rather on the 16 points that he collected in the outstanding third quarter alone and thus gave his team the buffer that the fans in Arizona cheered frenetically until the end of the game.
Game two is again in Phoenix on Friday night (3.00 a.m. CEST / DAZN). For both teams it is the third participation in the finals, the Bucks won their only title exactly 50 years ago.
“When it goes that way, you just want to cover the field well and let him orchestrate everything. If he’s in that mode, that feeds us, ”said Suns coach Monty Williams, who worked with Chris Paul earlier in his career. “It used to be that I announced everything. Now I often try not to get in his way. That is the relationship we have now. There is this trust. “
On the other hand, Antetokounmpo suffered a defeat in his first NBA finals appearance. He missed the last two games in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Atlanta Hawks with an injury, and only shortly before the game there was the go. But then the Greek acted as if the overstretched knee and the pain had never existed.
Antetokounmpo could not prevent Chris Paul from seizing the game in the third quarter. In the end, the 26-year-old, who was voted the most valuable professional in the league in 2018 and 2019, had 20 points, the best Bucks thrower was Khris Middleton with 29 points.
“He’s a good player,” said Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer of Paul’s dominance. “We have to make sure that he doesn’t get into his positions so easily.” Because the Suns not only consist of the family man, but also have the young Devin Booker (27 points) or Deandre Ayton (22 points) in their ranks, the Bucks are facing a big task.
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