How The Bucks Can Blow The Series Open
Middleton and Holiday Must Star
The Bucks need Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday to win this series! That is certainly not to say Milwaukee will not require the services of Giannis. On the contrary, he will need to win the series MVP. But the series win hinges on the play of Middleton and Holiday. During game 3, the first half belonged to Middleton. He defended, he distributed, he hit some shots and he allowed Giannis to play through him and not next to him. And in the second half, Holiday was making people pay for giving him a look at the basket. And even shots that did not go in still saw Giannis, Lopez, and Tucker in great positions to extend the play and score the ball.
As I’ve said countless times, I do not believe the Bucks come to the stadium saying “how does Giannis single-handedly win us this Finals game”. But except for Game 3, that is exactly what happens the majority of the time. Why? Holiday and Middleton need to believe they actually are a 2 and 3 of a Big 3 and play accordingly. Does Kyrie give way to Harden’s role when they are on the floor together? Did Draymond Green “step back” when Steph Curry was raining threes? Did KG accept a role just because Pierce was on the floor? Hell no to all of the above. And that is what the Bucks must have from Middleton and Holiday.
NO ONE wants to see four consecutive trips where Giannis runs into a pack-line defense with Middleton standing over in the corner slow-dancing with Crowder. And no one wants Holiday to show his worth by taking that fifth trip to the hole against a pack-line defense either. If those four trips net a Middleton baseline mid-range, a Giannis put-back, a Middleton to Giannis to a cutting PJ Tucker, and a Holiday 3, the Bucks are a MUCH better team than the Suns and they can blow this thing open. If they can play like that and ride the crowd to a strong defensive effort, I believe they are the better team and I believe they can get one game out in Phoenix. This series rests on the shoulders of Holiday and Middleton. The only way you make Giannis unstoppable is to limit the amount of people they can assign to stop him. The Milwaukee No 2 and No 3 need to play like a No 1 version of themselves.