Chris Paul Dominates in Game 1 of Finals, Suns Beat Bucks 118-105
In his first career NBA Finals game, Chris Paul led the Phoenix Suns to a 118-105 victory against the Milwaukee Bucks.
The 36-year-old Paul had a game-high 32 points and nine assists, doing most of his work in the second half to help the Suns win their first NBA Finals game since 1993. His all-star backcourt companion, Devin Booker, added 27 points and hit all 10 of his free throw attempts.
Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, who suffered a hyperextended left knee in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, was back in the starting lineup for Milwaukee for the opening game of the Finals. The announcement that he would play was made 30 minutes before tip-off, but he started well with eight points in the first quarter.
However, Booker scored 12 early points to give the Suns a 30-26 advantage after one.
In the second quarter, the Suns and Bucks battled with neither team able to take full control of the game. The Bucks used a 7-0 run to tie the game at 45, but Phoenix answered with a 12-4 stretch in the final five minutes to enter halftime with their largest lead of the game at 57-49.
The third quarter was Paul's time to shine. Paul accounted for 23 of the Suns 35 points in the frame, and Phoenix pushed their lead from eight points to as high as 20.
Khris Middleton scored the last 11 points in the third quarter for the Bucks, hitting a pair of three-pointers late, but the Suns had taken control with a 92-76 lead.
Milwaukee pulled within seven points midway through the fourth, but Phoenix finished the quarter strong and took the series opener 118-105.
For the Suns, Paul and Booker combined for 59 points. Deandre Ayton had a huge double-double with 22 points and 19 rebounds.
In Antetokounmpo's first game back from his injury, he scored 20 points with 17 rebounds. Ayton and Antetokpounmpo were the first players since Tim Duncan in 1999 to record more than 15 points and rebounds in a Finals debut.
Middleton led the Bucks in scoring with 29 points on 12-26 shooting in 45 minutes. The Bucks other star, Jrue Holiday, struggled with 10 points on 4-14 shooting.
Game two of the series is scheduled for Thursday, July 8 in Phoenix, Arizona.