Paul, Booker lead way as Suns throttle Bucks in Game 1 of NBA Finals
PHOENIX, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - One down, three to go.
The Phoenix Suns opened the NBA Finals Tuesday night with a thorough 118-105 rout of the Milwaukee Bucs.
Chris Paul scored a game-high 32 points, Devin Booker added 27 points and Deandre Ayton posted a double-double of 22 points and 19 rebounds for the Suns, who are in the finals for the first time since 1993.
Khris Middleton led Milwaukee with 29 points while Giannis Antetokounmpo had his own double-double of 20 points and 17 rebounds after missing two games with a hyperextended left knee. The Bucs are in the championship round for the first time since 1974.
Game 2 is Thursday night in Phoenix. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. and the game will be on ABC.
Paul scored 16 points during a sensational third quarter that had Phoenix fans who waited 28 years to see the NBA Finals again screaming in delight.
Finally playing for the title in his 16th season, the star point guard has the Suns in the NBA Finals for only the third time, and it sure looked as if they could make this ending different than the other two.
The Bucks will have to play from behind again after dropping Game 1 for the third straight series. But the Suns aren’t the Nets nor are they the Hawks.
Phoenix’s Big Three of Paul, Booker and Ayton were just too much for the Bucs.
The series opener was the first NBA Finals game in Phoenix since Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls won their third straight championship in Game 6 in 1993. The Suns, who came into the NBA with the Bucks in 1968, made their only other finals appearance in 1976.
They hadn’t even made the playoffs since 2010 and just two years ago were last in the Western Conference with a 19-63 record.
But Booker was already headed for stardom by then, and 2018 No. 1 pick Ayton has played at that level in the postseason. Paul has been steady as always since his arrival in an offseason trade.
Now 36 and a 10-time All-NBA selection, he is on the list of best players to never win a championship. It appeared he might never even get to play for one until Oklahoma City dealt him to a team of Suns on the rise, and he might be the final piece that takes them all the way to the top.
NBA Finals Schedule
Tuesday, July 6
Game 1: Suns 118, Bucks 105, Suns lead series 1-0
Thursday, July 8
Game 2: Bucks at Suns, 6 p.m. (ABC)
Sunday, July 11
Game 3: Suns at Bucks, 5 p.m. (ABC)
Wednesday, July 14
Game 4: Suns at Bucks, 5 p.m. (ABC)
Saturday, July 17
*Game 5: Bucks at Suns, 6 p.m. (ABC)
Tuesday, July 20
*Game 6: Suns at Bucks, 6 p.m. (ABC)
Thursday, July 22
*Game 7: Bucks at Suns, 6 p.m. (ABC)
* -- if necessary
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Copyright 2021 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.