After the Suns made 26 free throws in their first game in the Finals, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer admitted that Milwaukee’s misplacement of the free throw line in the first game (beaten by Phoenix in 118-105) was “frustrating.”
Budenholzer smiled and answered on the fact that Suns had 10 more free throws in the first game than their team. “No, I mean, it’s an important part of the game. They scored 25 points from the free throw line. We are a team that prides itself on our defense and good defense without fouls.”
“I don’t remember when a team made 25 free throws against the Bucks last time. Instead, the way Giannis Antetokunmpo attacks, the way Khris Middleton attacks, we have many opportunities as Khris has the ball. It’s frustrating, but it’s part of the sport. This is part of the game.
We must protect ourselves better. We must keep them away from the free throw line, attack more aggressively, reach the free throw line and attack.”
The Bucks had only one opponent in 16 games in the playoffs that made this many free throws, in Game2 they had 26 staggering free throws. Milwaukee dealt this blow in the second game of the first series against Heat. Miami made 24 of 35 shots in which the winners were the Bucks.
But what made the gap between the Bucks in the first game even more painful was the efficiency of the two teams. In this game, Phoenix scored an impressive 25 points out of 26 from the charity line. Jae Crowder was the only one to miss in the fourth quarter with 24.8 seconds remaining.
A similar report comes from Holiday’s side. After attacking in the first game, he scored only 4 out of 14 shots on Wednesday. On the court, he missed all four of his three pointer attempts and missed a few long shots, which made the opportunity worse. Holiday said he must be aggressive to become more involved, but the Bucks also need to find the right opportunity to do it at this point.
On the other hand, the Bucks also know how to contact the defender and get to the free throw line, especially if they also put Phoenix on the free throw point. Bucks guard Pat Connaughton said that Milwaukee needs to focus on the second game because he wants to prevent Phoenix from restarting the channel in and out of the free throw line.