Inside The Box Score: 2021 NBA Finals, Game 2 (2023)

Inside The Box Score: 2021 NBA Finals, Game 2 (1)

Devin Booker scored 21 of his team-high 31 points in the second half as the Suns held off the Bucks to take a 2-0 Finals lead.

Behind 31 points from Devin Booker, 27 points from Mikal Bridges, and 23 points and eight assists from Chris Paul, the Suns were able to withstand a 42-point night from Giannis Antetokounmpo and earn a 118-108 win in Game 2 of the 2021 NBA Finals. Let’s jump into all facets of the box score to take a closer look.

Traditional Stats

• Devin Booker shot 8-21 from the field and 1-8 from 3-point range in Phoenix’s Game 1 win, but made all 10 of his free throws to get to 27 points. After a tough shooting night from the field in Game 1, he then opened Game 2 by missing his first four shots and with seven minutes remaining in the second quarter, Booker was shooting just 2-10 from the field. From that point on, Booker made 10 of his final 15 shots on his way to a team-high 31 points on 12-25 shooting from the field, 7-12 from 3-point range and without a free throw. Two different shooting nights, but the same result – a Suns win.

• Mikal Bridges picked the perfect time to play one of the best games of his NBA career on Thursday night as he finished with 27 points on 8-15 FG, 3-9 3P, 8-8 FT shooting, while adding seven rebounds, one assist and one steal in 38 minutes. In 245 career games (regular season and playoffs), the third-year pro has scored more than 27 points only once (Jan. 9 at Indiana) and his 27 in Game 2 topped his previous career postseason best of 23 in Game 1 vs. Denver.

• The Suns made eight 3-pointers in the first quarter (one shy of the Finals record) and finished with 20 3s in 40 attempts on Thursday. The 20 3-pointers made is a playoff record for the Suns and is tied for the second-most in NBA Finals history.

Most three-point field goals made, game
24: Cleveland vs. Golden State, June 9, 2017
20: Golden State at Toronto, June 10, 2019
20: Phoenix vs. Milwaukee, July 8, 2021

• Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a playoff career-high 42 points – including 20 in the third quarter and 30 in the second half – to keep the Bucks within striking distance, but Milwaukee was never able to get overtake the Suns after Phoenix built its lead. Giannis shot 15-22 from the field, including 1-5 from 3-point range, and 11-18 from the free throw line, while adding 12 rebounds, four assists and three blocks.

• While Giannis shot 68.2% (15-22) from the field in Game 2, the rest of the Bucks combined to shoot just 38.0% (27-71). Khris Middleton finished with just 11 points on 5-16 shooting from the field, 1-6 from 3-point and did not attempt a free throw for the second straight game. Middleton averaged 4.6 free throw attempts over 17 playoff games heading into the Finals, but has yet to attempt a free throw in the series.

• Giannis Antetokounmpo was the only Bucks player to post a positive plus/minus in Game 2. The Bucks outscored the Suns by three in Giannis’ 40 minutes on the court, but were outscored by 13 while he was off the court.

Advanced Stats

• Deandre Ayton may have scored only 10 points (tied for his third-lowest scoring game of the playoffs), but the Suns offense was at its best when the big man was on the court, scoring 131.3 points per 100 possessions in his 42 minutes.

• Chris Paul entered Game 2 with a pristine 5.46 assist/turnover ratio during the playoffs. However, he finished with eight assists and six turnover in Game 2 – only a 1.3 assist/turnover ratio.

• Khris Middleton’s 34.4 true shooting percentage was his third-lowest in 19 games played during this year’s playoffs. The Bucks are just 1-6 when Middleton’s true shooting is below 50%; they are 11-1 when his true shooting is 50% or better.

Miscellaneous Stats

• The Bucks outscored the Suns 20-0 in the paint in the first quarter and finished Game 2 with a 54-28 advantage in the lane. Giannis Antetokounmpo led all players with 22 points in the paint.

• The Bucks also finished with a 10-point advantage in fast break points (17-7), with Giannis outscoring the Suns in transition by himself (9-7).

• Milwaukee finished Game 1 with just three second-chance points as they missed a number of put-back opportunities around the basket. In Game 2, the Bucks scored 23 second-chance points, but also allowed 19 to the Suns. Cam Johnson’s only two bucket of the game (both corner 3s) come on second-chance opportunities.

Scoring Stats

• Booker scored 67.7% (21 of 31) of his points from 3-point range in Game 2 as he made a game-high seven 3-pointers. He added another eight points (25.8%) from mid-range and his final two came inside the paint (6.5%).

• This was only the 11th time in 427 career games (regular season and playoffs) that Booker has not scored from the free throw line.

• The Suns assisted on 16 of their 20 3-pointers made (80%) in Game 2. Five of Devin Booker’s seven 3-pointers made came on passes from Chris Paul; Booker shot 5-7 (71.4%) from three and 7-9 (77.8%) over on passes from Paul in Game 2.

Usage Stats

• Giannis Antetokounmpo led all players in usage rate (36.5%) and scored 44.2% of Milwaukee’s points while he was on the court.

• By comparison, Devin Booker led the Suns in usage rate (28.4%) and scored 28.7% of Phoenix’s points while he was on the court.

• Among players that logged at least 10 minutes, the Suns had three players (Booker 28.7%, Paul 22.5%, Bridges 28.1%) score at least 20% of the team’s points while on court; the Bucks have just one in Giannis (44.2%).

Four Factors

• The Bucks had the advantage in three of the four factors: free throw rate 0.237 to 0.159; turnover percentage 9.6% to 13.7%; and offensive rebound percentage 37.0% to 32.6%. But it was not enough to make up for Phoenix’s superior shooting: 60.2 eFG% to Milwaukee’s 50%.

• Milwaukee’s 50% effective field goal percentage is tied for their sixth-lowest mark of this year’s playoffs. The Bucks are 3-5 when they shoot 50% or worse; they are 9-2 when they shoot better than 50% as a team.

Player Tracking

• Giannis Antetokounmpo shot 7-8 (87.5%) on contested shots and 8-14 (57.1%) on uncontested shots in Game 2.

• Only two of Devin Booker’s 25 shot attempts were contested in Game 2; he missed both of those, but shot 12-23 (52.2%) on uncontested shots.

• Jae Crowder pulled down 10 rebounds in only 16 rebound chance (62.5%), while Deandre Ayton collected 11 in 24 chances (45.8%) as he completed his fifth straight double-double.

• Brook Lopez (0-4), Khris Middleton (4-11) and Jrue Holiday (2-9) combined to shoot just 6-24 (25%) on uncontested shots in Game 2.

Hustle Stats

• In addition to his 42 points scored, Giannis Antetokounmpo created another 12 points with his traditional assists and another 10 points with his five screen assists.

• Deandre Ayton led all players with eight screen assists that produced 18 points for the Suns.

• Khris Middleton (5) and Jrue Holiday (4) led all players in deflections in Game 2, but despite an 18-10 advantage in deflections, the Bucks finished with only one more steal than the Suns (8-7). That’s thinks in part to the Suns’ 8-2 advantage in loose balls recovered.

• Giannis Antetokounmpo and Deandre Ayton shared the lead in contested shots with 15 apiece in Game 2.

• The Bucks edged out the Suns on the glass 46-43, including an 18-11 advantage on offensive boards. Milwaukee finished with a 15-5 advantage in box outs, including a 6-1 edge on offensive box outs.

Defensive Stats

• Giannis Antetokounmpo not only led the Bucks on offense with 42 points, he also was Milwaukee’s top defender as he allowed only nine points on 3-12 (25%) shooting to his matchups while on defense. One third of those nine missed shots came on blocks by Giannis.

• In 12:33 of defensive matchup time in Game 2, Deandre Ayton allowed 23 points on 23 shots as his matchups shot 9-23 (39.1%) from the field and 1-8 (12.5%) from 3-point range.

• In addition to his 3-point shooting, Cameron Johnson also contributed on the defensive end, holding his matchups to just four points on 1-5 FG, 0-2 3P in 26 minutes on the court.


• Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 19 of his 42 points (45.2%) in 6:11 of matchup time (52.4%) against Deandre Ayton in Game 2. Giannis shot 7-9 on 2-point shots, 1-5 on 3-point shots and drew two shooting fouls (2-4 FT) when matched up with Ayton.

• PJ Tucker was the primary defender on Devin Booker in Game 2, guarding him for a team-high 6:30 (39.3% of Booker’s offensive matchup time) and held him to four points (12.9% of total) and just five shot attempts.

• While Tucker had success slowing down Booker, Khris Middleton allowed 13 points on 5-8 FG, 3-4 3P in 3:50 of matchup time. Middleton allowed Booker to score 41.9% of his points in just 23.1% of his offensive matchup time.

• After defending Chris Paul for 4:01 (29.2% of Paul’s offensive matchup time) in Game 1, Jrue Holiday deferred Paul for a team-high 7:36 (49.0%) in Game 2. Holiday allowed 13 points on 5-8 shooting, including 3-3 from 3-point range, but Paul had just one assist and two turnovers when facing Holiday.

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