NBA finals 2021 Game 4: Phoenix Suns v Milwaukee Bucks – live! – The Guardian
9.54pm EDT 21:54
Suns 33-35 Bucks, 6:16, 2nd quarter
Middleton with a smooth move to get to the basket to give the Bucks a lead.
9.51pm EDT 21:51
The Bucks tie the game
Suns 33-33 Bucks, 6:50, 2nd quarter
Finally the Bucks get a stop, Lopez makes a layup and finally, after a half-dozen or so attempts, Milwaukee ties up the game. Ayton can’t convert on he other end, the Bucks get the ball back. Crowder block a Middleton layup and the Bucks take another timeout.
9.49pm EDT 21:49
Suns 33-31 Bucks, 7:45, 2nd quarter
Lopez is on the line, the foul is on Crowder, and knocks down two three throws. A two-point game again, let’s see if the Bucks can get a stop here on the other end.
9.47pm EDT 21:47
Suns 33-29 Bucks, 8:01, 2nd quarter
But the Bucks just can’t seem to get a lead here. Crowder makes another three-pointer and if those are starting to go in, he’s pretty much impossible to deal with.
9.45pm EDT 21:45
Suns 30-29 Bucks, 8:57, 2nd quarter
Ooh, there’s a Crowder three. He’s going to hit those from time to time. Giannis throws down another dunk, he might be shaking off his early rust. Chris Paul, who has been a bit quiet so far, finds Craig for a dunk as the Suns keep the Bucks at bay.
Oh and there’s Holiday with a big bucket… and he’s fouled by Devin Booker to get on the line. He adds a free throw and it’s a one-point game.
9.43pm EDT 21:43
Suns 25-24 Bucks, 10:04, 2nd quarter
Middleton with a lineup, he definitely looks like the best player on the court. Giannis scores after a missed Crowder shot and it’s just a one-point game. The first back-to-back buckets for the Bucks in what seems like ages.
9.42pm EDT 21:42
Suns 25-20 Bucks, 11:09, 2nd quarter
Bobby Portis fouls Torrey Craig to put him on the line, he makes both free throws to increase the Suns lead.
9.41pm EDT 21:41
Suns 23-20 Bucks, 11:41, 2nd quarter
The Bucks shot 32% from the field in the first quarter, it’s hard to imagine that they won’t get better as the game progresses. Middleton takes a shot… and misses. That’s not going to help anything.
9.38pm EDT 21:38
Wait, are they really rebooting Turner & Hooch as a television show? Are there no more original ideas left out there?
9.38pm EDT 21:38
Suns 23-20 Bucks, end of the 1st quarter
Cameron Johnson responds with the Suns’ first three-pointer, feels very late for their first three but better late than never. Holiday finally breaks from his slump with a layup and at the end of the first quarter it’s a one possession game despite the fact that the Bucks are on a horrendous shooting pace. The Bucks might end up regretting not being able to put up more separation here.
9.36pm EDT 21:36
Suns 20-18 Bucks, 47.0, 1st quarter
Jeff Teague, who I keep forgetting is on this team, gets to the line for free throws to shrink the Suns lead back to two-points.
9.35pm EDT 21:35
Suns 20-16 Bucks, 47.0, 1st quarter
Never mind, the Suns are now warmer. Booker finds Ayton for an alley-oop in response to the Giannis dunk.
9.34pm EDT 21:34
Suns 18-16 Bucks, 1st quarter, 1:18
That’s more like it, a huge Giannis dunk puts a charge through the Milwaukee crowd. Two-point game as the Suns have gone cold.
9.32pm EDT 21:32
Suns 18-14 Bucks, 1st quarter, 2:58
Booker can’t get a bounce out of the timeout. On the other end, Pat Connaughton can’t get his either, but Giannis draws a foul. He misses both free throws, but at least we’re not hearing the crowd counting down while he’s on the line.
9.27pm EDT 21:27
Suns 18-14 Bucks, 1st quarter, 3:25
Jrue Holiday misses yet again, he’s gone 0-for-5 and the Bucks just aren’t going to win if he can’t right himself. The Bucks need something here and they get it, some sweet ball movement from Middleton and Antetokounmpo gets the ball to Bobby Portis for a three-pointer that cuts the Suns lead to four. It’s Phoenix’s time to take a timeout.
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9.25pm EDT 21:25
Suns 18-11 Bucks, 1st quarter, 3:55
Well a fast-paced game here, Ayton gets ahold of a Jrue Holiday miss and deposits it on the other end. Middleton, who is looking good so far, knocks down a jumper. This might be a Booker vs. Middleton matchup today.
9.23pm EDT 21:23
Suns 16-9 Bucks, 1st quarter, 5:37
Bridges hits a shot, the Bucks are just not getting enough stops here. Antetokounmpo, however, gets on the board to cut into the Phoenix lead.
9.22pm EDT 21:22
Suns 14-7 Bucks, 1st quarter, 7:00
The Bucks can’t convert out of their timeout and, in fact, Booker scores once more to extended the Bucks lead. Finally, however, Middleton hits a three to stop the bleeding. However, Lopez fouls Booker who adds two more points to his total via free throw shooting.
9.19pm EDT 21:19
It’s on ABC, so it might be available without a provider if they have an app but I am honestly not certain about that.
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9.17pm EDT 21:17
Suns 10-4 Bucks, 1st quarter, 8:29
And the Suns strike first. After Booker’s jumper, Chris Paul gets to the rim for an easy layup, Mikal Bridges hits a jumper and Deandre Ayton takes a Jae Crowder pass and slams it home. The Bucks take a very early timeout. Looks like Phoenix made those adjustments.
9.15pm EDT 21:15
Suns 4-4 Bucks, 1st quarter, 9:55
Brook Lopez with a dunk and Booker scores again, the Suns are going to be looking for him to bounce-back after a subpar Game 3.
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9.14pm EDT 21:14
Suns 2-2 Bucks, 1st quarter, 10:42
Devin Booker starts the scoring with a jumper, Khris Middleton scores to even it up. We’re on our way.
9.10pm EDT 21:10
Team All-Stars win the WNBA All-Star Game
And that’s a final, Team All-Stars win 93-85 over Team USA. They got the game in just in time.
9.07pm EDT 21:07
With an 8 point lead with 32.7 seconds left, it looks like Team WNBA is about set to upset Team USA in the WNBA All-Star Game. A big blow for US women’s basketball that is also a big win for US women’s basketball.
8.59pm EDT 20:59
Here’s the problem with the WNBA All-Star Game, we’re right in the final few minutes of that game but we’re also close to Opening Tip here in Milwaukee. It’s just super-awkward stuff.
8.56pm EDT 20:56
Email from Andrew James:
What do you make of the Chris Paul love-in? Deserved or band-waggoning? And have injuries made or ruined these play offs? And how will the final frame next season?
Okay that’s a few things here. Well, Chris Paul is one of the greatest point guards in NBA history and, at 36, this is really the first and probably last chance to win a championship. It makes sense that he would be getting his flowers here. Maybe it’s a tad over-the-top here, but that’s always the case with everything during the Finals. We love our storylines.
As far as injuries: basketball is always better when its best players are healthy and able to play. We didn’t get that this year and it’s absolutely frustrating. It shouldn’t take anything away from whoever wins the Finals, but it would have been nice to see how this would have played out if the league were at anything close to full-strength.
As far as how these Finals will set up next? I don’t know, they might not at all, because of the injuries and all the games pushed back thanks to Covid-19, this could just be remembered as a weird blip of a year.
8.49pm EDT 20:49
Phoenix Suns starters
And the Suns are going with their typical starters as well. Hey go with the guys who got you there, as the saying goes.
Chris Paul, PG
Devin Booker, SG
Mikal Bridges, SF
Jae Crowder, PF
Deandre Ayton, C
8.48pm EDT 20:48
Milwaukee Bucks starters
It looks like we’re getting the same lineup as Game 1 for the Bucks:
Jrue Holiday, PG
JR Tucker, PF
Khris Middleton, SG
Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF
Brook Lopez, C
8.43pm EDT 20:43
At the end of three quarters, the WNBA All-Star Game is tied at 66-66. So, um, if this game ends up being a Team USA loss does it count against them like the men’s team’s exhibition losses, or is it okay because the All-WNBA team is mostly American?
8.35pm EDT 20:35
I will say this, it’s probably not great to have the WNBA All-Star game going on as we get closer to Game 4’s opening tip, but this is a heck of a lot more fun than grinding one’s teeth trying to get through another pregame show. With 4:23 left in the third quarter, Team All-Star have a
8.30pm EDT 20:30
Meanwhile, the universe keeps giving us all signs that maybe it isn’t the best idea to hold the Olympics at all this summer.
8.25pm EDT 20:25
One of the annoying things about having to make predictions is that it colors how you approach the rest of the series. For instance, not knowing Giannis Antetokounmpo’s status, I predicted that the Suns would beat the Bucks in five games. However, Giannis hasn’t just been playing he has been playing at an extremely high level. It’s honestly perplexing because when he suffered his leg injury in the Eastern Conference Finals it really did look like he was going to be out for the postseason and possibly for the start of next season.
Instead he’s back and—so far—seemingly no worse for the wear. Yet, I am still locked into my Suns-in-five prediction so I have no choice but to predict that they will beat the Bucks today (and in the next game). I’m very much not too confident about this. Feel free to send us your personal predictions, either email them to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @HunterFelt and we’ll include them here.
Speaking of the Olympics, the men’s basketball team actually won their last game after starting off 0-2 in exhibition games, losing to both Australia and Nigeria. While they absolutely slaughtered Argentina this time around, they won by 28 points, it wasn’t enough to ease concerns that this might be the most vulnerable men’s team in decades. That might not be great news for the U.S. but it wouldn’t be bad for the sport if other countries have legitimate chances at winning the gold.
8.17pm EDT 20:17
Allie Quigley wins the WNBA Three Point Contest
Allie Quigley has won the three-point contest here during halftime, her third such win, and we’re heading back to the All-Star Game.
8.15pm EDT 20:15
WNBA All-Star Game
Right now, the WNBA All-Star Game is taking place on ESPN, pitting the members of the women’s basketball Olympics team vs. a group of WNBA All-Stars. This way, it’s not just an All-Star Game but also a de facto Olympics tune-up game. Right now, after two quarters, Team All-Stars have a slim 44-43 lead over Team USA.
You may ask if it feels a little weird that the WNBA All-Star Game, which is supposed to be the day to showcase the league, is basically acting as the opening act for an NBA Finals game. Yes, yes it does in fact. Also: the three-point competition is taking place here at halftime?
8.05pm EDT 20:05
So, a lot has happened since the last we were here. In Game 1 of the NBA Finals, the Phoenix Suns beat the Milwaukee Bucks 118-105 despite the surprise return of Giannis Antetokounmpo to the Bucks lineup. Antetokounmpo looked more like himself in Game 2, but it still wasn’t enough to defeat a Phoenix team firing on all cylinders. However, the Bucks defended home court in Sunday’s Game 3, a dominant performance that changed the dynamics of the entire Finals. Now the question is if the Bucks can do it once again, tying up the series 2-2, or will the Suns make the adjustments and take a commanding 3-1 lead.
So, this is now—and I know you’re probably sick of this turn of phrase but it’s true—the pivotal game of the Finals. Either we’re going to get a guaranteed six games or the Bucks are going to be pushed to the verge of elimination. Here’s my thought: The Bucks won Game 3 because Antetokounmpo showed off the skills that made him a two-time MVP, putting up 41 points alongside 13 rebounds and six assists. The Suns will probably give him extra attention in Game 4, knowing now that he’s something close to full strength. The Suns could commit in making sure that anybody else but Giannis scores. If so, this would be Khris Middleton’s time to shine after something of an up-and-down postseason. We’ve already seen what he can do when he gets hot and he’s overdue to have a big game.
On the other hand, it’s entirely possible that Game 3 was something of a fluke. For the first two games, and even for much of Game 3’s first half, the Suns have looked like the superior team. The Bucks were always too good to have a counter-punch in them, but now that the Suns have absorbed it, they have an opportunity to land ther knockout blow. It also might not hurt that the long layover (thank you MLB All-Star Game) has given them time to make needed adjustments.
As I like saying at the start of these liveblogs, it’s going to be fun to find out either way. Like always, we’re looking for your thoughts throughout today’s game, you can email them (to email@example.com) or tweet them (to @HunterFelt). It’s Game 4 of the NBA Finals between the Phoenix Suns and the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum. Opening tip is theoretically scheduled at 9:00pm EST but we’ll be back before then when updates, predictions and other assorted time-wasters.
7.45pm EDT 19:45
Hunter will be here shortly. In the meantime here’s a look back at Sunday’s Game 3.