Middleton takes charge as Bucks tie series

Published July 15, 2021, 1:25 PMRenee Ticzon

Khris Middleton scored 40 points to help the Bucks to a 109-103 win over the Suns in Game 4, tying the series 2-2.


Bucks 109, Suns 103 (Series tied 2-2)

What went down

Who would have thought that a costly turnover from Chris Paul would impact the game’s outcome? After leading the majority of the game, the Phoenix Suns lost Game 4 to the Milwaukee Bucks, 109-103.

It was a close game won by defense. As the clock was winding down, Khris Middleton knocked down two clutch jumpers to give the Bucks a two-point lead. Giannis Antetokounmpo then made a big block on Deandre Ayton on the other end, followed by a steal by Jrue Holiday.

Things looked like it was going well for the Suns to start the game.

Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton combined for 14 points as they led by three in the first quarter. Milwaukee, on the other hand, struggled offensively only shooting 32 percent from the field.

Despite the dismal shooting, the Bucks kept themselves in the game by limiting their turnovers and fouls. But Milwaukee looked disjointed when they returned after the halftime break. They were scrambling on defense and made several unnecessary fouls. 

Booker exploded in the third, going 7-of-7 from the field, pushing his point total to 38 by the end of the quarter. But Booker was saddled with foul trouble, leaving him on the bench for short stretches.

The Suns were leading 82-76 entering the final period, but they just didn’t have a solution for Middleton once he gained momentum. 

Big-time baller

When Middleton gets in the zone, there are so few things teams can do to stop him. This was one of those games.

After a quiet Game 3, Middleton had a fantastic performance, scoring 40 big points and dishing out four assists. He was also effective on the other end, giving the Bucks six defensive rebounds and two steals.

However, it was his clutch shooting towards the end of the match that sealed the deal for Milwaukee. Middleton scored his final 10 points in a little over two minutes, as the Bucks took Game 4 on their homecourt.

What he said

Two-time MVP Giannis said he doesn’t need to have the ball in his hands at the end of the game.

“It comes down to trust. That guy right there (in the room), Jrue [Holiday]. I trust Khris [Middleton],” Antetokounmpo said. “I know they are going to make the right play and I know they are going to deliver the ball when I'm open. But what he did tonight was incredible. We need him to keep doing it. We are within reach of our goals,” he said.

Antetokounmpo had an incredible double-double of 26 points and 14 rebounds. He filled up the stat sheet by adding eight assists, three steals, and two big blocks.

What’s in a number?

It may have been a devastating loss for the Suns, but it was another breakout game for Devin Booker, who had 42 points. 

After scoring 542 points through 20 games, Booker now has the most points scored ever by a player in his first playoff appearance. 

The 24-year-old is averaging 27.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 4.6 assists in the postseason.



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