The Phoenix Suns have asserted their dominance through the first two games of the 2021 NBA Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks, and look like a team capable of capping off a storybook championship run when Game 4 takes place on Wednesday. But to assume that the Bucks are done in this series would be a disservice from what they've done to get to the Finals in the postseason so far, including coming back from a 2-0 deficit once before against the Brooklyn Nets in the second round.
"Game 1 in Brooklyn, I think -- I forgot how much we lost by. Game 2 we got smacked, embarrassed. A lot of people thought our season was done," Middleton said. "We still believed in ourselves. We came back and had an ugly grind-it-out game that we found a way to win. Sometimes it's not going to be pretty. Sometimes it's going to be ugly. We just got to find a way to win one game at a time from here on out."
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While the situations are different -- Brooklyn was dealing with injuries to James Harden and Kyrie Irving in that series -- the Bucks have proven to be a resilient team, especially at home. Milwaukee owns the best home record in the postseason (7-1), and has performed better while playing inside Fiserv Forum than on the road. When asked what's factored into the Bucks' success at home in the playoffs so far, Middleton credited the fans for bringing the energy to the arena.
"I think one is our home crowd, for sure," Middleton said. "Having that home court or playing on your home court in the playoffs is a huge key. It's tough to win on the road always and it makes a little bit sweeter to win on road. But having that home court and that home base, home crowd, behind you is huge, just to give you that confidence, that extra burst, that extra energy."
Milwaukee will have to take advantage of that extra energy that comes with playing at home, because while the stats favor the Bucks playing on their home court, they still have to put in the work to come away with the win. Middleton has had two inconsistent games so far in the Finals, as has Jrue Holiday. If Milwaukee wants to get back in this series and potentially tie it up before Game 5 in Phoenix, those two key players have to step up and help shoulder the offensive load with Giannis Antetokounmpo.