Things started off really well for the Phoenix Suns in the 2021 NBA Finals. They won the first two games of the series and appeared poised to win their first championship in franchise history. However, the series has done a complete 180 since those first two games. The Bucks have won three straight, and now they sit just one win away from their first title in 50 years. Milwaukee’s latest victory came in Game 5 on Sunday night — after the Suns jumped out to a 16 point lead in the first half.
So, after losing three straight games and blowing a large lead in Game 5, what’s coach Monty Williams’ message to his team? Just win one game.
“Well, head space, mental stamina, all that stuff, like it boils down to getting it done,” Williams said of what he wants to see from his team ahead of Game 6. “We got to win one game to put them back on the plane. That’s it. And you have to have that determination that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to put them back on the plane. So, we can call it what we want to, mental toughness, all of that stuff. But it’s going to be needed and our guys are capable of doing it. This is our first time in this position and we can do it.”
If they’re going to extend their season and force a decisive Game 7, the Suns will have to give Devin Booker some help on the offensive end. Booker has been doing all that he can for Phoenix, as he scored 40-plus points in each of their last two games. However, the Suns lost both of those games because they didn’t get enough production from the rest of the roster.
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Specifically, the Suns need more from Chris Paul. Paul is a big part of the reason that the Suns were able to advance to the Finals in the first place, but he hasn’t had his best series thus far. He has just 40 total points over the past three games, and he has also struggled with taking care of the ball over the course of the series. However, given the stakes, it’s safe to assume that Paul will come out focused and motivated for Game 6.
“We knew this wasn’t going to be easy,” Paul said after Game 5. “We didn’t expect it to be. It’s hard. Coach said it all year long: Everything we want is on the other side of hard, and it don’t get no harder than this. So, we got to regroup, learn from this game. But it’s over. We got to get ready for Game 6.”
The Suns appear to be taking the right approach. There’s no point in dwelling on their losses, and they know that they can’t win the entire series in one game. So, the best thing for them to do is focus entirely on Game 6 and try to get back to their winning ways from earlier in the series. They’ve been a resilient team all season, and now that resiliency is going to be tested like never before. Let’s see how they respond.