Giannis: Bucks' Ability to Make Finals Comeback vs. Suns 'Going to Be All Mental'

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 9, 2021

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) handles the ball against the Phoenix Suns during the second half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
AP Photo/Matt York

Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo said coming back from an 0-2 series deficit in the 2021 NBA Finals against the Phoenix Suns is "going to be all mental."

The Suns scored a 118-108 victory in Game 2 to successfully defend their home floor as the series shifts to Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee for the next two contests.

"I think no matter what we say, we know what the deal is," Antetokounmpo told reporters Thursday. "It's as simple as that. We've got to go back home and do our job. They did their job. We've got to do our job."

The Bucks trailed by 11 at halftime Thursday night after being outscored 30-16 in the second quarter. They made a couple of mini-runs in the second half, getting Phoenix's lead down to five with just under nine minutes left in the fourth quarter, but could never sustain the comeback bid.

Devin Booker paced the Suns offense with 31 points, while Antetokounmpo was terrific in defeat with 42 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and three blocks.

Milwaukee also dropped the first two games of its Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the Brooklyn Nets on the road before winning four of the next five games, including all three on its home floor.

A similar comeback will be necessary if the Bucks are going to capture their second championship in franchise history and the first since 1971.

If Milwaukee is going to storm back, it's going to need more production from players not named Giannis Antetokounmpo. The rest of the team combined to shoot just 38 percent from the field (27 of 71) in Game 2.

"But at the end of the day, it's not about me. It's not about [Jrue Holiday]. It's not about Khris [Middleton]. It's not about Coach. It's about all of us," Giannis said. "... If there's a game that you're 3-for-12 or whatever the case might be and you can rebound the ball or get a steal or do something else to help the team win, that's what it's all about right now."

Game 3 is a virtual must-win for the Bucks. In the 143 prior NBA playoff series where one team took a 3-0 lead, they went on to win every single time, per Land of Basketball.

It sets the stage for a massively important battle when the series resumes Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.