Zach to the Rack NBA Playoff Picks For Tuesday 7/20/2021
Zach’s Season Record: 123-116
“I’m liable to go Michael, take your pick... Jackson, Tyson, Jordan, Game 6.” - Jay-Z
I’m not sure why that Jay-Z quote from Watch the Throne always comes out during a Game 6, but it looks cool, and I always find myself singing it when games like tonight roll around.
As depressing as it is that the NBA season is winding down, at least the Finals have not been largely not marred by injuries (Šarić aside) and have been chock full of spectacular plays. But a lot remains on the table as the sputtering Phoenix Suns return to Milwaukee to try and stop the rolling Milwaukee Bucks on their home court.
The Series So Far
The Bucks were 26-10 at home this season but have only lost once at home this postseason. And that was back when Giannis was relying on the three-ball too much. Now that the Bucks have figured it out, and with the city of Milwaukee already icing millions of cans of Miller Genuine Draft for the parade, you understand why they are a -5.5 favorite in this game. Hopefully, Giannis doesn’t take a “tinkle” and let his nerves get the better of him.
Frankly, I think that the Suns have played their best basketball. The rut that Milwaukee found themselves in when they wanted Giannis to shoot more threes is where Phoenix currently sits relying too much on Devin Booker. When CP3 is in control and not playing timidly, they are a better team. (There are rumors of a hurt shoulder… but I figure we’ll hear more about this when the season is over.) Meanwhile, Deandre Ayton has completely disappeared since the “Giannis Block” in Game 4, and as one Twitter user said, Ayton had the most Jahlil Okafor 20-point, 10-rebound game ever. Yes, the numbers are there, but the big shots are not. And neither is the defense. If the Suns can’t figure out a way to stop Middleton’s magic, Giannis’ inhuman inside moves, and Holiday’s peskiness, the Sun could set on the Valley tonight.
Look, we all want a Game 7. Nobody wants it more than Phoenix. And, “They will force a Game 7 by any means necessary,” as Monty Williams said. That’s just going to be a little harder than it looks. At home, Milwaukee’s building is going to be flat-out insanity. I am absolutely rooting for the Suns here, because of many things – one being that I’d like Paul to win a title, and two, I REALLY want a game seven Thursday, but I just don’t see it happening. Momentum and home court are on the Bucks’ side, and those two things are massive in close-out games. I see Middleton continuing his Finals MVP-like run and Giannis giving us one more memorable moment tonight.
I’m taking the Bucks, and for some reason, I think they can win by nine or ten.
I’m also taking the over, even though the pressure of it all can make a team slightly jittery. (Much like the Suns, who started out on fire in Game 5 but decided to stop playing defense after going up 16.) Mainly because Phoenix has said that their goal tonight is to “find more threes.” So, look for this to be an epic display of offense on both sides, until the last few minutes when the Bucks defense shuts it down again.
On a side note, Giannis is so likable, isn’t he? In an era when every star is demanding trades and superteams, he stuck around Milwaukee – even after Malcolm Brogdon left. And he signed a big deal, essentially committing to getting the Bucks a championship. Tonight, he will find his groove by the second half. And the Bucks will take home the Larry O’Brien for the first time since 1971.
I’m also done with prop bets in these finals. I keep getting burned, especially by Chris Paul. If anything, I’ll throw a little something on Booker to get 30 (-140) because he wants the ball more than anybody else on the team right now, but to win, they’re just gonna have to find out another way to score…
Alright, I gotta go take a tinkle.