2021 NBA Finals

Tune-In Tidbits: 2021 NBA Finals, Game 2

Get ready for Game 2 of the 2021 NBA Finals with five key stats to know about the Suns-Bucks matchup.

Brian Martin, for NBA.com

Jrue Holiday and Devin Booker held each other scoreless when they were matched up on one another in Game 1.

• This is the third consecutive series that the Bucks have dropped Game 1. Can the Bucks continue to defy the odds and still win this series? Entering the 2021 playoffs, teams that won Game 1 in a best-of-seven series went on to win the series 76.2% of the time (425-133). In The Finals, teams that win Game 1 go on to win the series 71.6% of the time (53-21).

• The biggest question entering Game 2: how will the Bucks defend the Suns pick-and-roll offense? Will they switch like they did early in Game 1? Will they drop like they did later in Game 1? Or will they go small and take their big man off the court completely? The Bucks lineup of Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Pat Connaughton and Bryn Forbes outscored the Suns by four points in seven minutes on court together. Chris Paul scored 12 of his game-high 32 points on 5-7 shooting in just 1:43 of matchup time with Brook Lopez hunted that matchup when Lopez was on the court.

• The Bucks missed a number of putback opportunities as they finished with nine offensive rebounds and only three second-chance points in Game 1. Overall, the Bucks efficiency in the paint and around the rim was significantly lower than their usual standard. Prior to The Finals, the Bucks led the playoffs in FG% inside the restricted area (69.4%) and ranked second in the rest of the paint (45.9%). In Game 1, those percentages dropped to 61.9% (13-21) at the basket and 40% (8-20) in the rest of the paint. Overall, the Bucks shot 9.4 percentage points lower in the paint in Game 1 than they had in the rest of the playoffs.

• A promising sign for Phoenix heading into Game 2 is that they won Game 1 by 13 points and didn’t get a great shooting performance from Devin Booker, who finished with 27 points on 8-21 (38.1%) shooting from the field and 1-8 (12.55) from 3-point range. Booker was held scoreless on 0-6 shooting in 6:52 of matchup time against Jrue Holiday. Will Holiday be the primary defender on Booker again in Game 2, or will the Bucks use the All-Defensive First Team selection more on Chris Paul on Thursday?

• What will Chris Paul have for an encore after he finished Game 1 with 32 points on 63% shooting, nine assists, four rebounds, one steal and only two turnovers? Here are the other players to have at least 32 points, nine assists and two turnovers or less in a Finals game since 1984: LeBron James (2020, 2016, 2015), Draymond Green (2016), Charles Barkley (1993), Michael Jordan (1992) and Magic Johnson (1987).

Chris Paul 7/6/21 PHX vs. MIL W 37 32 4 9 1 2
LeBron James 10/2/20 LAL vs. MIA W 39 33 9 9 1 0
Draymond Green 6/19/16 GSW vs. CLE L 47 32 15 9 2 2
LeBron James 6/16/16 CLE vs. GSW W 43 41 8 11 4 1
LeBron James 6/14/15 CLE @ GSW L 45 40 14 11 1 2
Charles Barkley 6/16/93 PHX @ CHI L 46 32 12 10 3 1
Michael Jordan 6/3/92 CHI vs. POR W 34 39 3 11 2 1
Magic Johnson 6/7/87 LAL @ BOS L 43 32 11 9 1 1