NBA

Alive And Kicking Bucks Level Series With Suns Ahead Of Key Game 5

It was billed as the game which could define the series. A win for the Phoenix Suns would move them just one game away from the NBA Championship, a win for the Milwaukee Bucks would put them back level with the Suns with just three games in the series remaining.

In the end, thanks to a 40-point haul from Khris Middleton, plus 26 points, 14 rebounds and 8 assists from Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks produced a fine fourth-quarter performance to reverse a six point deficit at the end of the third and claim a 109-103 victory.

Now tied at 2-2, the series head into its fifth game in Phoenix on Sunday and the pressure is now back on the Suns not to forego home advantage in the series by losing in front of their own fans.

And it is certainly interesting to see what bookmakers like BetRivers Sportsbook are expecting to happen in that crucial game 5 match up.

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Suns Third Quarter Lead Wiped Out

After a very cagey opening two quarters, which saw the teams go in level at half time, it appeared that the Phoenix Suns, thanks to the free scoring Devin Booker had started to gain the upper hand in the third quarter as they opened up a six-point lead.

With the series very much on the line, the Bucks needed a big response in the final quarter.

They got it.

Driven on by Giannis and Middleton, the Bucks hit 33 points to the Suns 21 to not only close the deficit but to win by six points themselves.

It was a vital victory for the Bucks, who had trailed for almost 38 minutes of the first 44 minutes of the game.

Securing ten straight points over the final two minutes and seven seconds of the game, and Giannis superb block of Deandre Ayton’s shot at the rim to keep the Bucks two-point lead with just 74 seconds to go, proved key plays.

Guard Pat Connaughton recognised the importance of that block.

“I kind of said, in my opinion, it’s the best block of all time. Obviously we’re a little biased as you can talk about the LeBron block {in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals] as well. But as far as a block where he was covering the pick-and-roll, he had to judge where the pass was, where Ayton was catching it and trying to dunk it, above the box, it’s about as impressive as you can get”.

Paul Has An Off Night As Booker Shines

However, the Bucks were helped by some uncharacteristic fourth-quarter turnovers from the Phoenix Suns veteran star Chris Paul, when the game was very close, that played a key role in helping them to victory.

“It was me,” said Paul following the game after the Suns had 17 turnovers compared to five for the Bucks.

“I had five of them. It was bad decision-making.”

None was more crucial than with 27.2 seconds left on the clock, Paul handed the ball to the Bucks who scored to increase their lead to four, which led to the Bucks seeing out the game by extending that lead to six.

“The turnovers just crushed us tonight,” admitted coach Monty Williams after the game. “We certainly had a lot of self-inflicted stuff tonight.”

While Paul had a rare off night, Devin Booker shone for the Suns hitting 42 points in defeat. However, he was in foul trouble in the fourth quarter and should have been fouled out of the game after the first of Paul’s two late turnovers. Something the officiating crew admitted they missed on the play.

Game 5 Odds From BetRivers

Game 5 of the NBA Finals takes place on Saturday night in Arizona and it promises to be asBetRivers intriguing as Game 4. Can the Suns bounce back at home, or will the momentum the Bucks have gained from their two wins in Milwaukee see them land a crucial road victory?

BetRivers PA have the Suns as the -4.5 favorites on their home court and the Suns are -180 on the moneyline to win the game. The Bucks are +148 to land the win.

This should be another cracker and a game too close to call but I think the Suns will do just enough to take a 3-2 lead in the series.

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