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NBA Finals 2021: The biggest trends so far in the Phoenix Suns-Milwaukee Bucks series

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Stephen A. calls for Holiday & Middleton to step up for Bucks (1:48)

Stephen A. Smith shares his thoughts on the Bucks' 118-108 loss to the Suns in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. (1:48)

For the second time in the 2021 playoffs, the Milwaukee Bucks are down 2-0 in a series heading home. The last time that happened, they rallied to beat the Brooklyn Nets in seven games thanks in part to an injury suffered by Brooklyn All-Star Kyrie Irving in Game 4.

How can the Bucks do it again vs. the Phoenix Suns in the NBA Finals?

Let's take a look at three statistical trends from the first two games that have favored the Suns so far, and how Milwaukee might be able to turn them around heading home for Games 3 and 4.


It's a make-or-miss league ... and Finals

When the Bucks look back on the first two games of this series, I think they'll lament the missed opportunity of Game 1 more than the closer finish in Game 2. After all, Milwaukee lost the series opener despite outscoring Phoenix 48-33 beyond the 3-point arc, which has been atypical for the Bucks in this postseason.

Having struggled with turnovers and sending the Suns to the free throw line too often Tuesday, Milwaukee corrected those issues on Thursday. The Bucks had three fewer turnovers and seven more offensive rebounds than Phoenix, allowing them to both attempt more free throws (23-14, with nearly half of those Suns trips to the foul line coming in the final minute) and more field goals (93-88). Yet Milwaukee lost anyway, largely due to incredible Phoenix shot-making.