Only four teams in NBA history have rallied from an 0-2 series deficit to win the NBA Finals, but the Milwaukee Bucks are well-positioned to soon add their name to the rather short list.
Behind a team-high 32 points, nine rebounds, and six assists from two-time MVP winner Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks outlasted the Phoenix Suns, 123-119, in Game 5 on Saturday night to take a commanding 3-2 series lead. Milwaukee is now one win shy of its first NBA title since 1971.
"All the reasons why I felt really good about my Suns in five or six pick have obviously blown up in my face," Tierney said during Monday's edition of the Tiki and Tierney show. "It was never a disregard for the Bucks' talent. While I'm surprised, for sure, that Phoenix has lost three straight, what I'm stunned about is, what has undone the Suns, seemingly, is a lack of poise.
"That's what surprises me more than the three straight losses, more than the alley-oop and the dunk and the steal by Jrue [Holiday]. Yeah, those are basketball plays, and they are incredible ones. But where is the poise from the Suns?"
Tiki offered a possible answer to Tierney's question, suggesting that the Bucks' lock-down defense on Suns veteran guard Chris Paul has disrupted the team's scoring ability and overall flow.
"I'm not blaming anything on him being injured, but he hurt his left wrist. And prior to that, Chris Paul was just dominant," Tiki said. "He was all over the court, clearly leading. He was demonstrative, emotional. DeAndre Ayton and everyone else were taking their cues. But when that [injury] happened, his effectiveness ticked down just a little bit. And then Jrue Holiday got primarily assigned to him, and he's been frustrating the hell out of him...
"You've seen this frustration start to overcome Chris Paul. And when that starts to seep to the rest of the team, that's where the poise goes. Because let's remember, this Phoenix Suns team is young... When Chris Paul took that sidestep, this team kind of lost its edge..."
Game 6 will take place on Tuesday night in Milwaukee, with tipoff scheduled for 9 p.m. ET. According to FiveThirtyEight's projections, the Bucks currently have a 75-percent chance of winning the series.
The entire NBA Finals conversation between Tiki and Tierney can be accessed in the audio player above.