In a closely matched game on Tuesday evening, the Phoenix Suns defeated the Milwaukee Braves at home 118-105. In his first-ever career NBA Finals appearance, Chris Paul led the Suns to victory, with 32 points and nine assists, despite struggling with an injury throughout the playoffs. Let’s explore our NBA Finals Game 1 recap!
This is a matchup that very few people expected, with injuries unusually prevalent in these playoffs and with star-studded teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors getting eliminated stunningly early.
NBA Finals Game 1 Recap
No player in this series has ever won an NBA Championship. Will the Suns win their very first franchise championship? Or will the Bucks capture their first championship title in 50 years?
This matchup proved to be very close, but the Suns led for a majority of the game.
Suns forward Dario Saric is out for the rest of Game 1. He appeared to suffer a knee injury on a drive to the basket in the first quarter.
The Suns performed beautifully in the first game of this series, with five players in addition to Paul hitting double-figures in the scoring department, including Devin Booker (27 points, six assists, three steals) and Deandre Ayton (22 points, 19 rebounds).
Despite ultimately losing the game, Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Bucks, who had been listed as doubtful for Tuesday’s game due to a knee injury, also played wonderfully, with 20 points, 17 rebounds and four assists.
Despite a standout performance from Antetokounmpo, the Suns definitely maintained control throughout this entire game, penetrating the Bucks’ defense, making big offensive plays, and dominating on rebounds.
If they wish to remain a contender for the 2021 NBA Championships, the Bucks will need to figure out how to shut down Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and Deandre Ayton. In addition to that, Jrue Holiday will have to step up his game and improve his performance offensively, missing 10 of his 14 shots and finishing Game 1 with a mere 10 points.
Holiday played very well when he had to step up in Antetokoumpo’s absence, averaging 26 points and 11 assists in those two games. However, now that Antetokoumpo is playing again, Holiday seemed to have trouble readjusting, and he knows that he will have to make it work in Game 2.
“I pick my spots to be aggressive, and I think sometimes it’s gotten me in trouble,” Holiday said. “I think I’ve got to be aggressive from the beginning of the game. Sometimes it gets just a bit difficult, or it’s just a bit different, again, because we have another ball-handler and somebody that’s great in transition and makes plays for others.”
The Bucks have a lot of things to work on to prepare for Game 2, and the Suns certainly expect them to be better in that game on Thursday night. If one thing is for sure, it is that this series will certainly be an exciting, eventful, and close one. However, the Suns were certainly the better team in Game 1, with legends like Chris Paul absolutely dominating on the court.
Will the Suns be able to carry their momentum into Game 2? Will the Bucks be able to up their defensive game and will Jrue Holiday be able improve on his scoring? Make sure to tune in on Thursday at 9pm EST on ABC to watch Game 2 of the 2021 NBA Finals!
Allyson Park is a writer and media intern for Knup Sports and the Sports 2.0 Network covering a variety of topics including football, soccer, and baseball. Connect with Allyson on Instagram @allysonpark01.