fair.png
Wednesday August 4th, 2021 2:27PM

Suns remain upbeat as they face elimination game on road

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Phoenix Suns say they aren't feeling sorry for themselves after squandering a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals and moving within one game of elimination.

They realize they're still two wins away from capturing the first league title in franchise history.

Phoenix coach Monty Williams said Monday the Suns are showing the same spirit that helped them get this far in their first playoff appearance since 2010. The Suns have lost three straight to the Milwaukee Bucks, who can close out the Finals on their home floor on Tuesday.

“I saw yesterday when we got on the plane, the guys had the same look in their eyes,” Williams said. “When I came down this morning for meetings, guys were down there talking, having breakfast. It was pretty cool to watch. So those kinds of losses are hard, but if you’re going to do anything big, you have to overcome those kinds of hards.

“I don’t know of any team that has won a championship that has just kind of strolled into it. So our guys, we have talked about that, the deep playoff hurts that happen and the ability to bounce back from that.”

A big difference between Phoenix and Milwaukee is that the Bucks have experienced plenty of recent playoff heartbreak.

Milwaukee was the league’s top overall seed in 2019 and 2020 but failed to reach the Finals either year. While Chris Paul and Jae Crowder possess plenty of playoff experience, teammates including Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges made their postseason debuts this year.

“The message is stay together, fight each and every possession and embrace where you are right now,” Crowder said.

The Suns face the unenviable task of having to win at Milwaukee, where the Bucks own a 9-1 postseason record. The Suns posted an NBA-best 24-12 road record in the regular season — including a win at Milwaukee — and are 6-4 away from home in these playoffs.

That gives the Suns confidence they can bounce back, even from a loss as painful as the 123-119 Game 5 defeat.

“Coming into the next morning probably after a loss, the locker room, you probably wouldn’t know that we just lost a game, a Game 5 at home,” Ayton said. “You know, just how we walk in and everybody’s just so full of spirit and energy, it’s insane.”

RIVALS TO TEAMMATES

Booker is competing with Milwaukee’s Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton for an NBA title, but they’ll become teammates as soon as the Finals end when they head to Tokyo to join Team USA for the Olympics.

“I think we’ll be fine,” Middleton said. “Right now, we haven’t said a word to each other. I’m sure we won’t be best buddies during Team USA, but we’ll be teammates, for sure. We’ll be on the same path, talking basketball X’s and O’s, trying to get the job done. That’s what being competitors is all about, but also what being a teammate is all about.”

Booker agreed.

“It’s never personal between who you’re going with, unless lines are crossed,” Booker said. “Those guys aren’t that type and I would never go that way with them, because there’s a high respect level for each other. I think that’s why we’re in the position that we’re in right now.”

HEY, I KNOW THAT GUY

Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo said he noticed LeBron James was sitting courtside for Game 5 but didn't speak with him.

“It doesn’t really matter who — it might be my mother sitting courtside — I don’t engage while I’m playing,” Antetokounmpo said. “I just try to focus as much as possible. But this is crazy. This is a great story. This is not a promo. The night before, I was watching ‘Space Jam’ on HBO. I was watching ‘Space Jam,’ and there he goes in the courtside seat.”

James is the star of “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” which premiered over the weekend.

VOLUME SHOOTING

The Suns averaged 37 3-point attempts over the first two games of the Finals as they built a 2-0 lead. That dropped to 24.3 3-point tries over the last three games.

Phoenix went 13 of 19 from beyond the arc in Game 5.

“I think with the team and the capabilities of the shooters that we have on this team, that we need to generate more 3s,” Booker said. “Obviously, they’re switching a lot and staying home on shooters. So there’s just a way of figuring it out.”

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, AP Sports - NBA
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Biden wants spending to boost economy, but GOP to block vote
President Joe Biden said Monday that his infrastructure and families agenda must be passed to sustain economic momentum
5:27PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Stocks skid as virus fears shake markets; Dow falls 2.1%
Stocks skidded on Wall Street, and investors sought refuge in government bonds amid worries that fast-spreading variants of the coronavirus will threaten the economic recovery
5:23PM ( 22 minutes ago )
New chief selected for Capitol Police after 1/6 insurrection
A police official who has run large departments in Maryland and Virginia has been selected as chief of the U.S. Capitol Police
5:21PM ( 24 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Peyton Manning teams up with brother, ESPN for MNF MegaCast
ESPN has finally landed Peyton Manning as a “Monday Night Football” commentator
4:35PM ( 1 hour ago )
Sankey joins call for change in college athletics oversight
Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey is echoing a call for potential changes in how college athletics are governed
3:50PM ( 1 hour ago )
Female surfers overcome sexism's toll to earn Olympic berth
Surfing and sexism have a long history
12:46PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Sports
Lillard, Johnson lead US to 83-76 exhibition win over Spain
Damian Lillard scored 19 points and Keldon Johnson added 15 to help the U.S. beat Spain 83-76 in the final pre-Olympic game for both teams
11:45PM ( 18 hours ago )
US women earn first exhibition win, routing Nigeria 93-62
A’ja Wilson scored 16 points and Breanna Stewart added 14 to help the U.S. beat Nigeria 93-62 in the final pre-Olympic exhibition tune-up for both teams
8:37PM ( 21 hours ago )
Resilient Suns? Down 3-2 in Finals, it's time to find out
The Phoenix Suns like to believe they're a resilient bunch
5:04PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Basketball
AP source: US adding McGee, Johnson after Love withdrawal
Kevin Love has withdrawn from the Olympics because of a calf injury, forcing the U.S. basketball team to replace two players on its roster
6:28PM ( 2 days ago )
The waiting Games: Olympians navigate strict rules in Tokyo
The so-called playbook for athletes at the Tokyo Olympics provides a guide to a “safe and successful Games."
3:26PM ( 3 days ago )
Kevin Love out; US basketball now to replace 2 players
Kevin Love has withdrawn from the Olympics because of a calf injury, forcing the U.S. basketball team to replace two players on its roster
12:05PM ( 3 days ago )
AP Sports - NBA
Biden wants spending to boost economy, but GOP to block vote
President Joe Biden said Monday that his infrastructure and families agenda must be passed to sustain economic momentum
5:27PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Stocks skid as virus fears shake markets; Dow falls 2.1%
Stocks skidded on Wall Street, and investors sought refuge in government bonds amid worries that fast-spreading variants of the coronavirus will threaten the economic recovery
5:23PM ( 22 minutes ago )
New chief selected for Capitol Police after 1/6 insurrection
A police official who has run large departments in Maryland and Virginia has been selected as chief of the U.S. Capitol Police
5:21PM ( 24 minutes ago )
Blue Origin brings space tourism to tiny Texas town
For years, the official letterhead for the small town of Van Horn read simply: “Farming, ranching, mining.”
5:18PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Size of Oregon wildfire underscores vastness of the US West
The monstrous wildfire burning in Oregon has grown to one-third the size of Rhode Island and spreads miles each day, but evacuations and property losses have been minimal compared to much smaller blazes in densely populated areas of California
5:11PM ( 34 minutes ago )