NBA finals 2021 Game 4: Phoenix Suns v Milwaukee Bucks – live!
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
Meanwhile, the universe keeps giving us all signs that maybe it isn’t the best idea to hold the Olympics at all this summer.
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 [email protected] 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.
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.
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?
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 protected]) 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.
Hunter will be here shortly. In the meantime here’s a look back at Sunday’s Game 3.