With the NBA season winding to a halt, there will be a new NBA Champion crowned within the next five days. The only question remaining is which team is going to take home the trophy.

Heading into game #6 in Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Bucks hold a rather tenuous series lead of 3-2 over the Phoenix Suns. The Bucks will be trying to close out the series for their first NBA Championship since 1971 when Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul Jabbar) and Oscar “The Big O” Robertson took them to the title. The Suns will be looking to keep their hopes alive for the first championship in franchise history. To do that, they will need to force a game #7 in Phoenix.

The oddsmakers have the Bucks favored at -5 with the over/under sitting at 222.5. The money line on the game has the Bucks sitting at -200 with the Suns coming back at +170. So far, the favorite in the series is 4-1 with the over outpacing the under 3-2. On average, the two teams are scoring an average of 224 points per game for the series.

Milwaukee Battles to Even the Series

With the status of Milwaukee superstar power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo up in the air heading into the Championship series due to an injury incurred in the Eastern Conference Finals, things didn’t look good for the Bucks after the first two games in Phoenix. The Suns looked in full control after rolling to a 2-0 lead with two consecutive victories (118-105, 118-108) on their home court.

Heading back to Milwaukee, the pressure was on the Bucks to respond or risk going down 3-0 and facing certain elimination. They did respond on their homecourt with an easy 120-100 victory and then evened the series up at 2-2 two nights later with a hard-fought 109-103 win.

Pivotal Game #5

With both teams holding sway at home, it was beginning to look like the tale of two series. Heading into game #5, the pressure shifted to a Phoenix team, the Western Conference Champ, that had played so well at home over the entire season. They ranked 4th in the NBA at home with a record of 27-9 and only had one home loss in the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Bucks had struggled on the road during the regular season 2ith a record of 20-16. It looked like Phoenix would have a huge advantage as the teams took to the floor.

In the first quarter, the hot shooting Suns shot out to 37-21, leaving the stunned Bucks looking for answers. They would find the answers they were seeking as guard Jrue Holiday started torching the nets, leading the Bucks all the way back in the second quarter with a scoring outburst that put them ahead going into the locker room 64-61.

The Bucks played a strong third quarter behind the efforts of Antetokounmpo and forward Kris Middleton to take a 10 point lead into the final quarter. The Suns made a bit of a run in the fourth quarter but fell a little short, losing the game 123-119. It was a heartbreaking loss for the Suns, a team that struggled to deal with Milwaukee’s defense when crunch time came.

Advantage Bucks Heading into Game #6

Earlier this season, the Suns squeaked out a 128-127 victory in Milwaukee. They will need to summon the same kind of energy they had that night if they want to get this series back to Phoenix. That’s not going to be an easy thing to do as the Bicks seem to be playing the best basketball they have played all year long.

If the Suns are going to right this ship, they will need to get more contributions from other players. Over the last three games, the ball has been spending a little too much time in the hands of guard Devin Booker, something that has caused the team to look a little out of sync during stretches. They need to reestablish the same kind of flow that had in the first two games at home.

For the Bucks, there are no secrets about what they need to do in game #6. Antetokounmpo is arguably the best player in the NBA right now. This is the time when the stars come out to shine. The last thing the Backs want to do is let this series get back to Phoenix. With that in mind, look for them to just keep feeding the ball to Antetokounmpo, daring the Suns to stop him. It might be that the only chance the Suns have of doing that is to foul him and force him to hit foul shots. Over the last two games, Antetokounmpo has only hit 8 of his 19 free throw attempts. They call it the yips.

Final Betting Thoughts

For bettors, the game seems too close to call. Using the point spread, the betting would seem to be evenly spread between the two teams. This is exactly what the bookmakers are wanting. With the money line wagering heavily favoring the Bucks, bettors seem to believe this will be a close game with the Bucks squeaking out a victory.

Prediction: Defence wins NBA Championships. Right now, the Bucks are playing very well when Phoenix has the ball. At times, Suns star point guard Chris Paul has looked a little out of control. If the Suns are going to upset the Bucks in Milwaukee, they will need to do two things. First, they will need to move the ball around and hit open shots. Second, they need to make Antetokounmpo shoot at least 20 free throws. Let’s look for the Suns to successfully accomplish both of these feats for a narrow 117-111 upset win.