Bucks rally previous Suns in Recreation Four and even attain the NBA last with 2-2
MILWAUKEE – Giannis Antetokounmpo didn’t dominate.
Jrue Holiday had another tough offensive night trying to guard Devin Booker and Chris Paul.
The Milwaukee Bucks bank was fine, not great.
But the Bucks relied on Khris Middleton and overcame 40% of the shooting from the field and a spectacular offensive effort from Booker to beat the Phoenix Suns 109-103 in Game 4 of Wednesday’s NBA Finals in the best game of the series.
The Bucks were behind much of the second half, taking the lead by the end of the fourth quarter with eight straight points from Middleton and a great defense, including two Antetokounmpo blocks – one against Chris Paul and one against Deandre Ayton.
Middleton led the Bucks with 40 points and Antetokounmpo had 26 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists and two blocks.
The series is tied 2-2 and Game 5 is Saturday in Phoenix (9pm ET, ABC).
Here are four key takeaways from Milwaukee’s Game 4 win:
Middleton yes, public holiday no
Middleton was aggressive from the start. He made 15 shots in the first half and ended with a playoff career high of 33 tries. He scored 24 points in the second half, giving the Bucks a chance to win.
His back space partner Holiday experienced another tough shooting night in the final. Holiday was 4 for 20 and had no finesse with his strokes on the edge.
The Bucks had chances. Pat Connaughton missed a 3-pointer that would have leveled the score at 7:15 in the fourth quarter, and Holiday missed a 3 at 4:05 to tie the score at 95-95. Another miss by Holiday would have put Milwaukee 99:97 ahead.
Booker only had 10 points in the 3v14 shootout in Milwaukee’s Game 3 win. He’s known for bounce back games, and he had one in game 4.
He had 12 points in the second quarter and 18 points in the third. But he got his fourth foul in the third and his fifth foul at 10:50 before the game. He had 38 points when he left the game. Booker returned at 5:55 am and the suns were 93-90.
Booker, who finished with 42 points, destroyed Milwaukee with his middle distance game around the foul line.
Limiting Antetokounmpo – to a certain extent
Ayton stayed out of bad trouble and that helped the Suns protect the color much better than they did in Game 3 when the Bucks had an advantage of 54-40, including 28 points in the Antetokounmpo suit.
The Bucks star finished on Wednesday with 20 points in the color.
Ayton had six points, 17 rebounds, five assists and three blocks.
Paul is fighting
Paul scored only 10 points and ended up losing the ball five times, earning him 17 in four finals. The Bucks scored 24 points in 17 Suns turnovers and outperformed the Suns with 15-0 in fastbreak points. Phoenix coach Monty Williams has dealt with transitional defense all of the series, and it doesn’t help if the suns are giving away live ball sales.
“We have to have an efficient offensive and a balanced offensive so we can get the guys back,” Williams said before Game 4. “But second, once we have an awareness of the transition, we have to sprint and come back and form the wall and then know then it’s not just about Giannis. “
Follow Jeff Zillgitt on Twitter @JeffZillgitt.