July 10, 2021

(Reuters) – Two-time league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks are bringing the fight home on Sunday, as Cream City hopes to rise to the top in its first National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals hosting gig in a half century.

With a 0-2 deficit in the best-of-seven series, the pressure is on the Bucks to overcome the Phoenix Suns’ dominant defense and find their footing before it’s too late.

“We got to play better. We got to compete harder to put ourselves in a position to win,” said Antetokounmpo, who put up 42 points but received little help on offense in Thursday’s 118-108 Game 2 loss.

“I’m trying not to think about playing at home – winning at home, that doesn’t really matter… You still have to go out there and do the things to help your team win.”

The 26-year-old forward missed the last two games of the Bucks’ Conference Finals series against the Atlanta Hawks after suffering a hyperextended left knee. But he told reporters on Saturday he’s been able to set aside injury concerns for the Finals thus far, grabbing a dozen rebounds in Game 2.

“I don’t think about my knee injury or how many points I scored or if who win or whatever the case might be,” he said. “There’s two things: If you enjoy the game and you compete, it puts you in a position to be successful.”

Asked if he would be making any adjustments on offense, Milwaukee Coach Mike Budenholzer told reporters “there’s things that we can hopefully tweak a little bit,” after his team went nine-for-31 from the three-point line.

“We got to keep working to get better. When you get good looks, good opportunities, it’s going to be helpful if we convert,” he said.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Dan Grebler)