Giannis Antetokounmpo decided to play after his scary knee injury last week.
However, his presence did not lead to a victory.
The Phoenix Suns were great and unstoppable for most of the game.
This Bucks team is in the Finals after a crazy postseason run.
They looked like they were about to get swept by the Brooklyn Nets in the second round.
Look now and they are in the Finals.
There is still a chance of the Bucks winning the series.
They need one player to help Antetokounmpo as he is dealing with his injury.
That player is Khris Middleton.
Middleton has been great this postseason.
His playoff numbers have been great, while coming up in the clutch.
2021 Playoff Comparison:
Middleton: 23.4 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 5.1 APG, 43.4 FG%, 33.8 3P%, 3 35-PT Games
Booker: 27.0 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 4.8 APG, 44.4 FG%, 34.4 3P%, 2 35-PT Games
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) July 6, 2021
Game 6 of the Nets series was a great performance to keep their season alive.
Then Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Atlanta Hawks saw another great game for them to clinch a berth to the Finals.
He has been a great player for this Bucks team and they need more of the same.
Middleton has been great, but how did he perform in Game 1 of his first NBA Finals?
Middleton is a very good offensive player in this league.
It just so happens that people do not pay attention to him as much as the should.
This postseason proves just that.
His averages for this year’s playoffs are 23.7 points, 7.9 rebounds, and five assists per game.
Middleton had a very good performance in Game 1, despite the loss.
He was able to put up 29 points on 12-26 shooting.
— JWALSports Productions LLC (@JWALSports) July 7, 2021
His three-point shooting was even good as he shot 5-12.
The Bucks need Middleton to help out with the offensive load.
Antetokounmpo is dealing with the injury and Jrue Holiday has a tendency to struggle offensively.
They needed Middleton to have one of those great games that he has had in the playoffs already.
However, he fell a few notches below of what he has shown during this Finals run.
The Bucks might need him to bring those performances back to the Finals on a more consistent basis.
Was It Too Late?
Middleton had an overall very good game, but was it too late?
His first half was average at the best.
He had 12 points on 5-13 shooting.
Then in the second half, he put up 17 points with 7-13 shooting.
The problem was that Middleton began to start going when the Suns were in full control.
He was able to bring them back to cut down the lead down from double digits.
However, those numbers will not be remembered after that loss.
Regardless, it was still a very good performance by the two-time All-Star.
He just needs to be more consistent and play good basketball for the entirety of the game.
The Bucks need him to bring that level all game long and not for just a half.
Can he actually do it is the real question.
If not, the Bucks might lose out on winning the championship this year.