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Bucks Win Game 4, Tie NBA Finals

NBA Finals 2021 Bucks vs Suns

The Greek Freak has Got the Bucks Back Into the NBA Finals

Rallying from a nine-point fourth-quarter deficit, the Milwaukee Bucks won Game 4 of the NBA Finals 109-103 over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night to tie the series at two wins apiece. The series now heads back to Phoenix for Game 5 on Saturday night.

Khris Middleton had 40 points while Giannis Antetokounmpo added 26 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists, three steals, and two blocks. One of those two blocks was the talk of the postgame, as he recovered from helping on a driving Devin Booker to block Deandre Ayton at the rim off Booker’s alley-oop pass to Ayton late in the fourth.

“The honest thought that was going through my head was, more or less, kind of like shock and awe when the block happened,” Bucks guard Pat Connaughton said. “I kind of said, in my opinion, it’s the best block of all time. Obviously, we’re a little biased, and you can talk about the LeBron (James) block (in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals), as well.

“But as far as a block where he was covering the pick-and-roll, he had to judge where the pass was, where Ayton was catching it and trying to dunk it, above the box, it’s about as impressive as you can get.”

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Middleton took over the scoring down the stretch for the Bucks, pouring in 10 straight points over the final 2:07 to put the Bucks in the lead for good. Middleton had scored a total of 29 points in Games 2 and 3 of the series, but hit 15-of-33 from the field, including 3-of-8 from the 3-point line, as well as 7-of-8 free throws to lead the Milwaukee scoring attack.

“I kept communicating to him that there were things that we could do to get him wide open, to get him to the elbow jump shot, to get him turning the corner because usually, they are helping a lot when he’s turning the corner,” Antetokounmpo said. “But that’s what he does down the stretch. We want him to have the ball. We want him to be the decision-maker. We know he’s going to take big shots, and tonight, he was incredible.”

Booker did all he could to get the Suns the victory, scoring 42 points, but he wasn’t able to score enough to keep up with the Bucks. He now has 542 points this postseason, the most ever for a player in his first playoff experience, passing Rick Barry’s 521 in 1967.

Bad Night For Paul

Chris Paul had an off night, shooting just 5-of-13 from the field and finishing with 10 points and five turnovers. Phoenix had 17 turnovers as a team, which were costly in the loss.

“It was me,” Paul said. “I had five of them. It was bad decision-making.

“They got a significant amount more shots than us, so for me, I got to take care of the ball. We got 17 turnovers, we shoot the ball too well not to have those opportunities to score.”

“The turnovers just crushed us tonight,” Suns coach Monty Williams said after the loss. “When you have that kind of a lead in the fourth, if we can just hold on to the ball and get good possessions, you feel like you can at least hold it there. We certainly had a lot of self-inflicted stuff tonight.”

Who Wins The Title?

So now the series shifts back to Phoenix for Game 5, with the first team to win two games taking home the title. The Suns have been almost unbeatable on their home floor this postseason and took Games 1 and 2 by 13 and 10 points, respectively.

The latest NBA odds have the Suns as four-point favorites at home on Saturday night. The NBA Finals’ series odds also give the edge to Phoenix, which would have two of the last three games at home if it goes the distance. Nonetheless, the Bucks dropped from +150 to +140 after the lines opened. The current lay price for the Suns to ship it is -160.

Antetokounmpo is still the favorite on the NBA Finals MVP odds board at +140, with Paul close behind at +175. Booker has +225 odds, while Middleton is listed at +3000 — though those odds may change if he has another game as he did in Game 4.

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