Young Phoenix Suns scored 20 quick braking points in Game 1 win

It’s one thing for the Phoenix Suns to shoot 46.6 percent from the field and win the free throw battle by getting 25 of 26 from the field in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

They finished the regular season second in the NBA in field goal percentage (49%) and free throw percentage (83.4%).

That’s what they’ve been doing all season – and kept doing it in the playoffs.

The Suns are tied with the Los Angeles Clippers for second in field goals at 47.7% and lead all playoff teams in free throws at 87%.

However, if the Suns continue to light him in transition, it could be a quick streak in their favor. Feeding off the sold-out crowd of 16,557, Phoenix earned 20 quick braking points in Tuesday’s 118-105 victory over the third-seeded Milwaukee Bucks at Phoenix Suns Arena.

Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges (25) slams two against the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of the NBA Finals at Phoenix Suns Arena on July 6, 2021.

“Just get in there defensively, get saves,” said Suns winger Mikal Bridges. “We’re all selfless and we play fast so once we get the stop we just run and I know for sure if I’m out they’ll find me. I’m just starting to run even though I’m tired. “

The second-seeded Suns were 12th in regular season transition points with 13.1 per game. They’re averaging even fewer in the playoffs at 11.5, but given that the game typically slows down in the playoffs, it’s a solid production in this area.

Sixth in the league in transition points per game in the playoffs, Phoenix rose even more on Tuesday night.

The Suns scored 15 of those 20 counterattacking points in the first half to build a 57-49 halftime advantage against a team that came first in the playoff final on defense.

“They’re a good defensive team, so anytime you can get easy buckets it really helps you,” said Suns coach Monty Williams.

Like Bridges, Williams acknowledged that defensive saves were one of the keys to triggering Phoenix’s running game, but noted that Suns great Deandre Ayton grabbed 19 rebounds with 17 on the defensive glass as a big part of it. this transition equation.

Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams chats with his team during Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Phoenix Suns Arena on July 6, 2021.

“It allows us to go out and run,” said Williams. “I thought our guys were planning on making plays for someone else. Even if you didn’t get the ball running on the ground, the ground was spaced out, so we were able to attack the paint. or play in attack. “

With three of their five starters aged 24 or under at Devin Booker and Bridges, both 24, and Ayton, 22, the Suns have young legs, but ask their oldest player, Chris, 36. years. Paul, to push the pace even higher.

“They’re bad on me about it, especially Willie Green,” Paul said of the Suns’ main assistant, who was his teammate in New Orleans and with the Los Angeles Clippers. “Willie always said I was holding the ball too long, but that’s like I said, constructive criticism.”

Phoenix Suns goalie Chris Paul (3) lands the ball against Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton (22) in Game 1 of the NBA Finals at Phoenix Suns Arena on July 6, 2021.

Paul said Green told him in Game 6’s closing road victory over the Clippers that the Suns need to get the ball through half the field with 20 seconds remaining on the shot clock.

“So I try to make a conscious effort to make sure we’re playing at the right pace,” Paul concluded.

The Bucks had 17 transition points including eight in the first half, shot 45.5% from the field (16 of 36 of 3), but only shot 9 of 16 from the line while Giannis Antetokounmpo did shot just 7 of 12 on free throws in his first comeback since his left knee hyperextended in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Milwaukee trailed up to 20 points in the second half.

Do you have an opinion on the current state of the Suns? Contact Suns Insider Duane Rankin at [email protected] or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.

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