Suns team effort stops Giannis and the Bucks in NBA Finals rematch

2022-02-11 05:53
Credit: USA TODAY Sports - Scanpix
Credit USA TODAY Sports - Scanpix

Deandre Ayton scored 27 points on 12-of-14 shooting while Chris Paul had 17 points and matched his season-high of 19 assists to lead the Phoenix Suns (45-10) to a 131-107 (31-34, 33-22, 33-21, 34-30) victory over the visiting Milwaukee Bucks (35-22) on Thursday night in a rematch of last season's NBA Finals.

Mikal Bridges added 18 points as the Suns earned a fourth straight win and their 15th in the past 16 games. Paul scored 17 to complete the 500th double-double of his career.

Milwaukee defeated Phoenix in six games in last July's memorable Finals. The Suns won the first two games before the Bucks won the next four.

Player of the Game
Chris  Paul
Chris Paul
Points 17
Accuracy 5-11
Rebounds 7
Assists 19

On Thursday, Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton scored 21 points apiece for Milwaukee, which had a four-game winning streak halted while losing for just the third time in 11 games.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was MVP of the Finals, had 18 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds before sitting out the fourth quarter.

Devin Booker had 17 points and seven assists for Phoenix but made just 6 of 19 shots from the field. Cameron Johnson added 15 points and eight rebounds as the Suns beat Milwaukee for the sixth time in the past seven regular-season meetings.

JaVale McGee scored 12 points and Jae Crowder added 10 points and eight rebounds for the Suns, who shot 56.7 percent from the field despite being just 9 of 30 from 3-point range.

Bobby Portis recorded 11 points and nine rebounds for the Bucks, who made 45.5 percent of their shots and were 10 of 38 from behind the arc. Milwaukee's Pat Connaughton departed after fracturing the fourth metacarpal on his right hand.

Phoenix outscored the Bucks 33-21 in the third quarter to turn an eight-point halftime advantage into a 97-77 lead.

Ayton slammed home a dunk off Paul's underhand flip to cap a 10-2 burst and give the Suns a 76-61 lead with 6:37 left in the quarter.

Johnson knocked down a 3-pointer with 1:07 left and delivered a booming dunk with 4.6 seconds remaining as Phoenix took the 20-point lead into the final stanza.

Paul's jumper gave the Suns a 108-82 advantage with 9:08 remaining. The lead topped out at 27.

Ayton scored 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting as Phoenix built a 64-56 lead entering halftime.

Grayson Allen buried a 3-pointer to start the second quarter, giving the Bucks a 37-31 lead. The Suns scored the next eight points and later used a 12-2 spurt to move ahead by 10.

Suns: Deandre Ayton 27 (12/14 2PT, 7 REB), Mikal Bridges 18 (5/6 2PT, 2/5 3PT), Devin Booker 17 (4/11 2PT, 2/8 3PT, 7 AST), Chris Paul 17 (5/8 2PT, 7/7 FT, 7 REB, 19 AST), Cameron Johnson 15 (3/4 3PT, 8 REB), JaVale McGee 12 (6/8 2PT, 3 STL), Jae Crowder 10 (2/9 3PT, 8 REB).

Bucks: Jrue Holiday 21 (4/8 2PT, 3/4 3PT, 5 REB, 4 AST), Khris Middleton 21 (8/9 2PT, 1/6 3PT), Giannis Antetokounmpo 18 (5/11 2PT, 8/14 FT, 7 REB, 8 AST), Bobby Portis 11 (4/7 2PT, 1/5 3PT, 9 REB).

Full game highlights:

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