MILWAUKEE (AFP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo wants the Milwaukee Bucks to enjoy a light atmosphere for Sunday’s Game Three of the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals while Chris Paul wants the Phoenix Suns intense and hungry.
But it’s the Bucks who desperately need a victory, down 2-0 in the best-of-seven championship showdown, while the Suns know no NBA team has won a playoff series after dropping the first three games.
“We all understand what kind of game we’re getting ourselves into. We know what we got to do,” Antetokounmpo said. “But at the end of the day, you got to keep it light.
“You cannot tell yourself, ‘Oh, it’s the Finals. You got to do this. There’s so much pressure, man.’ No, it’s still basketball. You got to keep the atmosphere light.”
The Greek star forward, a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, also knows the Bucks most improve after their first back-to-back double-digit defeats since February.
“We got to play better. We got to compete harder to put ourselves in a position to win,” Antetokounmpo said. “We’ve come a long way to be in this position and we got to try to make the best out of it.”
The Bucks are 7-1 at home in the playoffs but playing the first NBA Finals game in Milwaukee since 1974 is just another road contest for the Suns, who are 6-2 on the road in the playoffs after going an NBA-best 24-12 away from home in the regular season.
“The biggest game of the year is tomorrow. It’s a must-win game for us,” Paul said. “We got to come out with that mindset.”
“We know they’re home, they’re more comfortable, they will be in front of their fans. But we got to be us. We got to be the hungrier team. So that’s what we’ll do.”
The Suns seek the first title in the club’s history while the Bucks seek their first NBA crown in 50 years.