Can Giannis and the Bucks even up the series in Game 4? (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire)
- The Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns play Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday July, 14th
- Milwaukee won in a blow out in Game 3 to get themselves back into the series
- Read below for the latest injury news, Game 4 odds and more
Game 4 of the NBA Finals takes place on Wednesday July, 14th at Fiserv Forum. Trailing the series 2-1, it’s another must-win for the Milwaukee Bucks, who put in an awesome performance to win Game 3. Giannis Antetokounmpo has been magnificent in the last two games – his presence contributes to the Bucks being favored by four points.
Injuries have had a role to play in this series. It’s gone with homecourt so far, however, but all the pressure is on the Bucks as they look to come from 2-0 down for the second time in this postseason.
Bucks vs Suns Game 4 Odds
|Team||Spread||Moneyline||Total Points at FanDuel|
|Milwaukee Bucks||-4 (-110)||-180||Over 220.5 (-110)|
|Phoenix Suns||+4 (-110)||+152||Under 220.5 (-110)|
Odds as of July 13th
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Both teams are missing key men. Dario Saric (ACL) is out for the year, leaving the Phoenix Suns desperately lacking in the frontcourt. Donte DiVincenzo (foot) underwent surgery last month and hasn’t played since Game 3 in the first round.
Monty Williams and Mike Budenholzer have tweaked their rotations in this series. The Bucks have gone small more often than in previous rounds, with Pat Connaughton playing a bigger role off the bench.
It’s a similar story for the Suns, who have been forced to adapt in Saric’s absence. The result has been more minutes for Cameron Johnson and former Buck Torrey Craig has seen an uptick in his involvement. There was concern over Craig’s health (knee), but he was made available for Game 3 and he doesn’t feature on the injury report for Game 4.
Bucks vs Suns Projected Lineups
|Jrue Holiday||PG||Chris Paul|
|Khris Middleton||SG||Devin Booker|
|Giannis Antetokounmpo||SF||Mikal Bridges|
|P.J. Tucker||PF||Jae Crowder|
|Brook Lopez||C||Deandre Ayton|
Deandre Ayton has done a great job at avoiding foul trouble throughout these playoffs. That changed in Game 3, however, with Phoenix’s starting center playing just 24 minutes and finishing with five personals. This left the path to the basket clear for Giannis Antetokounmpo. No other Sun has the size and athleticism to trouble the two-time MVP, and the result was unsurprising.
Ayton been showing out in his first playoffs 🔥 pic.twitter.com/yAkr0ChtEl
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 12, 2021
The Greek Freak finished with 41 points on 23 shots. Frank Kaminsky has no chance at guarding him. Jae Crowder is strong enough, but he’s simply too small. Mikal Bridges is All-Defense caliber on the wing, but he’s giving up a lot of height and muscle to Antetokounmpo.
Going at Ayton early will be a clear strategy for the Bucks. If he’s foul trouble again, it’s hard to see how Phoenix can win the game. As was shown in Game 2, though, Antetokounmpo can still put up big numbers even if the former first overall pick is on the court.
Giannis has more 40-point games in the Finals than:
Wilt Chamberlain pic.twitter.com/G0iWpcl5kR
— StatMuse (@statmuse) July 12, 2021
Ayton has had a great playoffs. With the pressure going up a level, he’s facing his greatest test yet on Wednesday.
Middleton and Holiday Are Key
The production of Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday was another big difference in Game 3. They (much like Devin Booker on the other team) have been inconsistent. Middleton and Holiday don’t need to put up massive numbers with how Antetokounmpo is playing, but they need to make shots. The pair scored a combined 39 points on 50% from the field in Game 3, which is often going to be a winning formula.
.@ShannonSharpe on the Bucks winning Game 3:
“Giannis was sensational, and last night he got people to come along with him. Middleton & Holiday play extremely better at home than they do on the road. I was never worried about Giannis, I was worried about the other 2.” pic.twitter.com/bCpLZssp55
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) July 12, 2021
They were 12-for-37 combined in Game 2. It was 16-for-40 in Game 1. Where Antetokounmpo has rightly received the plaudits for his domination inside, it’s the support of his co-stars which really helped the Bucks.
Middleton and Holiday are now both shooting more efficiently than Booker in this series. Chris Paul and Antetokounmpo can be relied on for production, but it’s their inconsistent big-name teammates which could swing Game 4.
The Game 3 win took the Bucks to 8-1 at home in these playoffs. Perhaps the fierce Wisconsin crowd made a difference for Middleton and Holiday. Maybe it contributed to the Suns shooting 29% from the three while the Bucks were just under 40%.
Devin Booker struggled to find his rhythm in Game 3.
‣ 10 PTS
‣ 21.4 FG% (lowest of the season) pic.twitter.com/dAp9x7xpg5
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) July 12, 2021
It’s unlikely to be another blowout. Booker will make more shots. Ayton playing more minutes should keep the game closer. Still, though, it’s hard to look past the Bucks in front of their home fans. We’ve got a real series on our hands.
Pick: Milwaukee Bucks Moneyline (-180)
Sam Cox is a freelance writer and sports junkie, who has spent the past several years immersed in the online gaming industry. He has worked with 888sport, Oddschecker, and Colossus Bets to name a few. Based in the UK, Sam also runs Franchise Sports with his brother.