Milwaukee came up big late in the fourth quarter on Wednesday as home teams improved to 4-0 in the NBA Finals. Playing in front of fans is doing the trick, so as the series heads back to Phoenix, we’re not surprised to see the Suns as favorites with the online sportsbook.
However, momentum is big in basketball, and Milwaukee has its tail up.
Middleton Turns Up
We have been on Khris Middleton’s case throughout the playoffs and the small forward showed up in a big way in Wednesday’s .
Middleton scored 40 points on 15-of-33 shooting and he was active throughout the game, which should be expected for someone of his caliber.
He had help from Giannis Antetokounmpo, who scored 26 points and had a game-defining block late in the game. Brook Lopez, Jrue Holiday and Pat Connaughton also scored in double figures, so it was a good team performance.
Holiday credited to win to Middleton and Antetokounmpo, the veterans of the team.
“”They have been here the longest,” Holiday told ESPN. “They have been through the most together. They have endured the most. They have been criticized for everything they have done here, and they have also got the glory.
“But they know the pressures that come with that, and they have exceeded all those expectations. For them to be able to perform on each stage, and especially a stage like this, is awesome to see, and I’m blessed to be a part of it.
“They give us confidence as a team,” Holiday continued, “and they carry us just like they did tonight.”
CLUTCH BLOCK BY GIANNIS 😱 pic.twitter.com/jwB0b75o65
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 15, 2021
The biggest play of the game was The Greek Freak blocking Deandre Ayton’s potential game-tying shot with under 90 seconds to play. Antetokounmpo, who took off from the knee he injured against Brooklyn, made an incredible block that changed the course of the game.
“I thought I was going to get dunked on, to be honest with you,” Antetokounmpo said. “But you know, going down the stretch, just do whatever it takes to win the game. Just put yourself in a position that can win the game.”
The win is a huge momentum boost for the Bucks, who won both games at Fiserv Forum. Although they were handled in the two games in Phoenix, they’re capable of producing the upset on Saturday night.
NBA betting markets have the Bucks at a favorable line of +155, which shouldn’t be ignored in what is now a best-of-three series.
Are Suns Worried?
Losing consecutive games in the playoffs isn’t the end of the world, but Phoenix has clearly lost its edge.
The Suns looked good playing the first two games at home, but the Bucks were equally as impressive in Games 3 and 4. It’s now on the Suns to bounce back and regain the edge in the series, because losing Game 5 would put the ball firmly in the court of Milwaukee.
Phoenix scored only 103 points despite Devin Booker notching 42. He was electric, but Chris Paul was quiet with 10 points and Ayton had only six points, but he did grab 17 boards.
The Suns’ starters in Game 4:
Devin Booker – 42
Everyone else – 38 pic.twitter.com/XvRsn9bKOg
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 15, 2021
Paul believes home-court advantage is important and the Suns are always tough to beat at Phoenix Suns Arena.
“This is a tough one but we’ve got to bounce back,” Paul said. “That’s why we fought all season to get home court.”
Despite having an 82-76 lead after three quarters, the Suns were unable to have quality possessions. Booker picked up his fifth foul early and instead of keeping him on the court and taking the risk, he played only the last five minutes.
“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,” Suns coach Monty Williams said.
The Suns can’t rest on their laurels and assume home-court advantage gets it done. Bookmakers are showing trepidation and the NBA odds reflect a close game, so it could come down to the final few possessions again.
Bucks vs Suns Betting Trends
The Bucks are 0-5 against the spread in the last five meetings in Phoenix and 3-8 ATS in the last 11 meetings overall.
However, they are 7-3 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game, so it’s not all bad news for Bucks’ backers.
Phoenix is 10-3-1 ATS in the last 14 games as a favorite and 20-7 ATS in the last 27 games following an ATS loss. However, they are 1-5 in their last six games playing on two days’ rest.
Bucks vs Suns Pick
There are many things pointing to a Suns’ home victory, but we’re bucking the trend and going with Milwaukee on the road.
The Bucks have seized control of the series and they’re starting to impose their will on the court. Despite playing on the road, it’s hard to stop a moving force and we’re happy with the value odds available.
Bettors could take the four points in spread markets, but we’re maximizing the value and taking the Bucks to win outright.