With the series back even at two, how will Phoenix respond returning home...?
Despite holding a lead for most of the game, the Phoenix Suns let one get away when the Milwaukee Bucks pulled away late for a 109-103 win to tie the series heading back to Phoenix.
While it was Giannis Antetokounmpo’s big play; meeting Suns center Deandre Ayton at the rim for a highlight reel block that gave the Bucks all momentum to pull that one out, it was the shot-making of Khris Middleton that really won them the game.
Possibly sensing that the superstar Giannis was starting to get tired, it was Middleton who led the team in shooting attempts and points, finishing with 40. It wasn’t much of a surprise, as Middleton’s home and away splits in these playoffs have differed quite drastically.
One player who hasn’t been able to get anything going this entire series to this point is Jrue Holiday. Holiday has been great on the defensive end of the floor, guarding Chris Paul a majority of the time, but with Paul letting Cameron Payne or Devin Booker initiate most of the offense in Game 4 even when he was on the floor.
The home team has won every game in this series to this point, and I don’t expect that to change tonight. The Suns are 4.5-point favorites tonight and a 2-point favorite for the first half.
Even when Phoenix hasn’t looked good in this series, things were still close at halftime, so I’ll be on Phoenix -2 at half.
One thing I’ve found interesting and have been even impressed with at times is Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer. Every round the Bucks have played, especially when behind in the series, his job status has been brought up. Some were even making the joke that he might have had to find his own way back from Brooklyn.
But instead, Budenholzer has taken his team, with an injured superstar, into the NBA Finals, having to make countless adjustments. While he may not make them on the fly, he’s shown the ability to adjust game to game.
Like I said above, I think Phoenix continues the trend of the home teams winning. But if that trend is broken tonight, I think the series is over.
I’m not sure what’s wrong with Chris Paul. His jumpers were coming up short in the last game, and the fact he was willing to essentially play P.J. Tucker’s offensive role of standing in the corner out of the way. With the extra day off, I think Paul realizes that last game will officially go down as the game that got away when defining his legacy.
For player props, I’m once again riding Cameron Johnson over 1.5 made 3-pointers.