By Adam Roberts – 7/15/2021
With Kareem and Oscar in the house, and 25,000+ outside Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee was in a position to either make the 2021 NBA Finals a best-of-three or fall into a daunting 3-1 hole with two road wins necessary to win the Finals. In Game Three, Giannis was the superstar with a 41 point performance.
Last night, the 40 point star would be Khris Middleton.
The Bucks’ shooting forward recorded 40 on the nose on 15-33 shooting with a 7-8 night at the free throw line. Giannis added 26 and 14, Milwaukee had five guys in double figures and forced 17 Phoenix turnovers on their way to a 109-103 Game Four win. It was a good thing that those turnovers turned into fastbreak points as well; Devin Booker was electric for the Suns with 42 points and very nearly carried the Suns over the hump by himself.
But it was those turnovers and the Bucks’ defense in the fourth quarter which truly provided the difference. The highlight of the night came within the final two minutes, when Booker had Deandre Ayton set up perfectly for an alley oop that would have tied the contest at 101. Giannis, however, had other plans and was able to pivot from a standstill at the free throw line and contest the shot just enough to block it away.
Statistically, there was a lot going in the Suns’ favor during a good chunk of the game; they shot an impressive 51.3% and outshot the Bucks both from three and the free throw line. But four Suns starters had negative plus-minuses, and again the 17-5 turnovers going against Phoenix led to easy buckets for Milwaukee. Booker’s supporting cast being held largely in check didn’t help matters for Phoenix, either; Chris Paul was held to just 10 points on 5-of-13 shooting and had five of the Suns’ turnovers. Deandre Ayton ended with six points and 17 rebounds in the setback.
So now the series shifts to Phoenix once again this Saturday, with neither team finding a way to win on the road yet. Our coverage from the desert begins at 7pm on ESPN La Crosse 105.5 and espnlacrosse.com!