The Phoenix Suns flailed a little last night in Game 4 of the NBA Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks. They had a chance to advance to 3-1 in the best-of-seven series, but gave up a lot of ground that the Bucks were only too happy to exploit. Now, with the series tied at two games apiece, there will be at least two more games before a new NBA champion team can be crowned.
Bucks Rally To Even The Score
Last night’s Game 4 found Khris Middleton living up to his All-Star status for the Bucks. He showed that Giannis Antetokounmpo isn’t the only Milwaukee player capable of 40-point games, and that performance was crucial for the Bucks’ win. The Greek Freak held his own, as well, putting up 26 points and 14 rebounds, as well as a massive blocked shot that helped seal the deal for Milwaukee on its way to a 109-103 victory. Brook Lopez added 14 and Jrue Holiday tacked on 13 to give the Bucks an edge.
The Suns didn’t play poorly, at least not as poorly as they played in Game 3. Devin Booker had an impressive 42 points and Chris Paul, who should have had a hot night, went cold. He was only 5 for 13, giving Phoenix just ten points. Talking to either his inner self or the team after the game, Paul stated, “This is a tough one but we’ve got to bounce back. That’s why we fought all season to get home court.”
The Suns Give Up The Game
In the past two trips to the NBA Finals, the Suns have only managed to pick up two wins in each. They have two in the current race, but are having difficulty securing a third. Last night, they were close; however, they fell apart late in the game. Booker rallied in the third quarter to give Phoenix the advantage, with the score 82-76 heading into the last period, but that’s as far as they got.
Halfway through the fourth quarter, the Suns were still up by a basket. Things fell apart after that, with the Bucks attacking on defense and becoming relentless in scoring. Milwaukee took the lead and would hold onto it for the last six minutes of the game, stopping Phoenix dead in its tracks with nowhere to go. Suns head coach Monty Williams realizes that something went very wrong, stating, “When you have that kind of 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.”
Oddsmakers Got It Wrong
The odds were heavily leaning on Phoenix to win, with an Over/Under that was out of reach. For gamblers who took the underdog, they were rewarded with a nice payday. Taking the Under, which seemed to be almost a given while looking at 221, they added an extra bonus on the night. Milwaukee had too much going for them and nothing working against them, and capturing the win to even the series seemed to be easy money.
Game 5 is going to be a little trickier. It’s back to Arizona and the Suns, once again, are favored to win. It’s time to start thinking about how to approach the game and the odds, but there’s a big enough window. The game won’t be played until this Saturday.