Giannis Breaks Down His BIG Block on DeAndre Ayton, Postgame Interview - Game 4 - 2021 NBA Finals

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House of Highlights 14 July, 2021 - 11:40pm 29 views

Where can I watch Game 4 of the NBA Finals?

Where to stream. The game will stream on ABC's app and on ABC.com, as well as WatchESPN or the ESPN App, which requires a TV provider login. Viewers can also watch on YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, AT&T TV Now, FuboTV or Sling TV. Free trial options are available for all of the paid streaming services. USA TODAYPhoenix Suns vs. Milwaukee Bucks: Time, how to watch/stream NBA Finals Game 4

What channel is the Suns game on tonight?

Bucks vs. Suns will be broadcast live on ABC. You can live-stream Game 4 via Watch ESPN or the Watch ESPN app. The game can also be streamed on fuboTV, which offers a 7-day free trial. sportingnews.comWhat channel is Bucks vs. Suns on today? Time, TV schedule for Game 4 of 2021 NBA Finals

Mike Budenholzer May Have the Upper Hand on Chris Paul

The Ringer 15 July, 2021 - 02:00am

The much-maligned coach’s defensive adjustments have put the Bucks defense a step ahead of the Point God … for now

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that after Chris Paul went carte blanche in Game 1 for 32 points and nine assists, the Bucks—despite their stubborn reputation—would adjust as they have all throughout their playoff run. And so even as Antetokounmpo rampaged through the Suns’ interior defense, wiping out entire city blocks on his way to some of the most dominant performances in Finals history, the Bucks made a breakthrough on the other side of the ball by doing something that none of the Suns’ other playoff opponents could: make Chris Paul turn the ball over.

The glaring flaw of Milwaukee’s initial defensive strategy wasn’t that it allowed the future Hall of Fame point guard too many opportunities to take bread-and-butter midrange jumpers, but that it was a style of coverage Paul barely felt at all. It was too easy for him to dial up a Brook Lopez switch and then take his time, easing through possessions while Lopez stood back on his heels. Budenholzer and his staff scrapped that scheme going into Game 2 and answered Paul’s dominance by putting Jrue Holiday in a state of constant pursuit.

The series has been different ever since. On Phoenix’s second possession of that game, Holiday picked up Paul so early and so aggressively that he had to turn to protect his dribble and effectively post Holiday up just to get the ball across the half-court line. Paul couldn’t go a few steps without his shadow lunging at the ball, disrupting his rhythm. Even consecutive screens didn’t help; Holiday wedged himself between Paul and the first, completely neutralizing its impact, and then chased him over another, causing the best point guard of his generation to dribble the ball off his own foot:

“[I’m] really just trying to speed him up, and trying to get him as tired as possible,” Holiday said after Game 3.

Two of Paul’s three highest turnover games of the entire 2021 playoffs were his last two: six giveaways in a closely contested Game 2 and four more in a Game 3 that was far enough out of reach that Paul played only 34 minutes. It was entirely out of character—the Point God severed from his divine providence. Some of the power of Paul’s playmaking comes from the fact that he wastes nothing; in the 16 years he’s been in the league, a Chris Paul team has finished outside the top 10 in turnover rate (read: the top 10 lowest turnover rates) only once according to Cleaning the Glass. Phoenix ran one of the cleanest offenses in the league this season and overwhelmed its first three playoff opponents with similar precision. That’s the power of Chris Paul. The influence he aims to exert over every possession begins—and, in effect, ends—with ensuring that a shot goes up. His career is as much a work of basketball savvy as it is a triumph of administration. Some former teammates have seen that style as micromanaging. Paul’s record would tell us it’s unquestionably efficient. Regardless, a defense finding ways to consistently turn Paul over amounts to hitting him where he lives.

There wasn’t any one formula to how Milwaukee bothered Paul’s dribble and picked off his passes, except for more accurately reading his intentions. Paul isn’t a player who can be pinned down for long; his feel for the game is too sophisticated and in tune to the butterfly effects of how a teammate sliding over a few feet would have completely changed the outcome of a possession. Yet in the heat of the past two games, the Bucks were able to periodically get ahead of him, diving into some of Paul’s passing lanes before he had even fully committed to using them. You just don’t see defenders pick off routine passes from Paul like Holiday did here:

Or find defenders who are plugged in to the way Paul sees the floor well enough to take away what an all-time point guard thought to be a sure layup:

Even when the Bucks didn’t force a turnover, their pressure complicated possessions—like when Paul waved off an inbound pass due to Holiday’s hounding, leading to Bridges bringing the ball up and quickly losing it to P.J. Tucker. There is no perfect form of defense against a team that moves the ball as well as the Suns, but the way Milwaukee has defended Paul has challenged the order he tries to impose. The points scored off turnovers in this series has gradually inverted from a healthy Suns advantage (16-10) in Game 1, to practically a draw (16-15, Milwaukee) in Game 2, to a huge boost for the Bucks in Game 3.

“We were able to get stops,” Middleton said. “That allowed us to play a lot faster, a lot freer.”

Milwaukee needs those easy conversions in transition a lot more than Phoenix does. The Bucks probably won’t have enough steady offense to win this series without them. It’s a reversal of the advantage Paul’s teams typically enjoy and another valuable way for Milwaukee to apply pressure. Holiday breathing down Paul’s neck on every pick-and-roll forces Paul to consider every dribble he takes more carefully, but the Bucks scoring consistently with opportunistic fast breaks, Antetokounmpo’s rim runs, and enough ball movement in support can make Paul feel the stakes of a possession. It can snap a great player out of his zone just long enough to realize where he is and what he’s playing for and disrupt his perfect focus by zooming his perspective out to 10,000 feet. It can force a brilliant micromanager to feel the weight of an entire career.

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Suns-Bucks NBA Finals score, takeaways: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee win Game 4 to even up series

CBSSports.com 14 July, 2021 - 11:55pm

The Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns treated fans to the most exciting matchup of the NBA Finals to this point in Game 4 as the Bucks ultimately came out on top with a 109-103 hard-fought win at Fiserv Forum Wednesday night .

Devin Booker was phenomenal for the Suns as he finished with a game-high 42 points and made NBA history along the way as well. He was also involved in one of the most controversial plays of the night as he appeared to foul Jrue Holiday late in the fourth quarter, a foul that would have been his sixth of the game, which the officials seemingly disregarded. In the end, Booker's offensive explosion wasn't enough to overcome the Bucks as Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton combined for 66 points to lead the charge for Milwaukee and, ultimately, help them even this series.

With the win, the Bucks carry all the momentum into Game 5 in Phoenix on Saturday night as this is now, essentially, a best-of-three series. Here are three takeaways from Milwaukee's Game 4 win.

Shaquille O'Neal and Allen Iverson. Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley. Jerry West and John Havlicek. Khris Middleton and Devin Booker. Those are the four sets of opposing players in NBA history to both score 40 points in an NBA Finals games. The first six were all obvious Hall of Famers. If the game they played tonight is any indication, Middleton and Booker are headed down that same path. 

Neither was particularly impressive in a first quarter that included only 43 total points. They then combined for 21 in the second before Booker erupted for a staggering 18 in the third without missing a shot. At that point, it looked as if the night belonged to him. Middleton had other ideas. With Booker relegated to the bench due to foul trouble, Middleton scored 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting. When Phoenix's incredible defense took away all of their team-based actions, Middleton stepped into pick-and-roll jumpers that could not be denied. He turned a six-point deficit into a six-point win in the fourth quarter. 

Middleton and Booker have both been derided for their inconsistency at points this postseason. Middleton scored only 11 points in Game 2. Booker shot 3 of 14 in Game 3. That's what happens in the Finals. Unless you're named Michael Jordan, great defenses make your life more difficult. Those same defenses took everything away from their teammates in Game 4, and it came down to these two superstars stepping up and carrying their offenses afterward. Middleton did a teensy bit more when it counted, and now, this series is tied at 2-2. 

Both fan bases have plenty to gripe about when it came to Devin Booker's whistle. Had the Bucks lost this game, Booker's blatant foul on Jrue Holiday with 3:30 remaining would have been the story. Booker, who already had five fouls, should have been knocked out of the game with his sixth. The officials missed the call. The Bucks won anyway. Crisis averted. Now, let's look to the Suns' side of the ledger. 

Booker played only seven minutes and five seconds in the fourth quarter. He sat two minutes and 28 seconds in the third as well. When he played in this game, the Suns battled the Bucks to a draw. When he sat, they lost by six points. So that raises the ultimate question: Should Monty Williams have stuck with Booker regardless of his foul trouble? Or was he right to put him on the bench?

Well … that's a complicated question. It's one Phoenix already had to wrestle with in Game 3, when Deandre Ayton played only 24 minutes due to foul trouble and the Bucks killed the Suns in the minutes he sat. But Booker wasn't held out of almost an entire half as Ayton was. He still managed to play 38 minutes and 30 seconds in total. Without foul trouble, Booker probably plays more. He nearly reached 46 in Game 6 of the Lakers series and was above 44 in Game 2 of the Finals. But could Booker have sustained such an effort for that long? 

And could he have kept from committing that sixth foul? That depends on how you look at the one that didn't get called. A proper call would have knocked him out, but did the refs give him some leeway because of his star power? Would they have given him that same leeway if he hadn't sat? This is all unknowable, but Booker fouling out early in the fourth quarter would have been a death sentence for the Suns. One of their major advantages in this series is that they have two elite guards and Jrue Holiday can only defend one of them. Remove Booker from the equation and he gets unleashed on Chris Paul, depriving the Suns of both of their shot-creators. 

A few more Booker minutes might have swung this game. If the Suns lose this series, they're going to look back on Game 4 as the turning point. But this isn't the same situation they were in with Ayton, where his absence was inexcusable. This was a tough decision from Williams, and he managed to balance it in such a way that still allowed them to get plenty of minutes out of Booker. 

There comes a point in the NBA Finals when the things that got you to that point no longer matter. A championship-caliber opponent has figured you out. They've mastered your play-calls and adjusted to all of your adjustments and the series slows to a crawl. When that happens, you just have to hope that the best player in the series is on your side. 

When the series opened in Phoenix, it looked like Chris Paul might be that player. After a stellar run through the Western Conference, Paul dropped 32 points and nine assists in a Game 1 thrashing. Devin Booker made his claim to the title at points in this game, when it appeared as if he might be on his way to a Finals MVP award with an all-time scoring performance. But both have had poor games in this series. Both have had issues defensively. When the Bucks have locked in on both, they've had success. 

The Suns have no answer for Giannis Antetokounmpo, though. In a game in which they devoted practically all of their defensive resources to stopping him at the rim, he still scored 26 points by functioning as a garbage man and taking easy points where they presented themselves. He used that extra attention on him to rack up eight assists. He set the screens in pick-and-roll that allowed Middleton to score 40. And when it counted most, he did this:

This is what wins championships. This is a legendary player making a legendary play that nobody else in the series can make. It's LeBron James blocking Andre Iguodala and Michael Jordan switching hands and Julius Erving going around the backboard. It's the sort of play that no amount of coaching or teamwork can prepare you for. The Bucks had a player who could do that. The Suns did not. 

There's still plenty of time left in this series. It's not over yet. But the Bucks are significantly better at handling Phoenix's best players than they were when this series began. The Suns have gotten no better at handling Giannis than they were in Game 1. When they pack the paint and double him, the Bucks can win the way they did tonight. When they don't, they can win the way they won in Game 3. They have the best player in this series, the one source of stability in an otherwise fluctuating matchup. If Phoenix can't crack the Giannis code quickly, it's going to lose this series and become a footnote in his ascent. 

GOODNIGHT. pic.twitter.com/VTHuF3GOIe

High Energy Victory Walk. ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/VRYppNehU4

That #NBAFinals Victory Walk!! pic.twitter.com/dQgmZei8nj

BROTHERS. https://t.co/fcKnJDasyd pic.twitter.com/w0t7nbxWZp

Building something special in Milwaukee. pic.twitter.com/dxY6UTCpRm

The end of Game 4 was CRAZY 🤯 pic.twitter.com/rwE7vEfAJO

"I think it's always a Khris Middleton kind of night. At the end of the day he makes the right plays." @MotorolaUS | #FearTheDeer pic.twitter.com/qP8Nc3bAra

Just two Bucks Legends. pic.twitter.com/2Xhj7z58xK

"Him and Giannis are the finishers and they took us home tonight." @MotorolaUS | #FearTheDeer pic.twitter.com/JAiIsUgeiE

.@DevinBook with tonight’s @FanDuel Stat Line of the Game. pic.twitter.com/W9IqNfTvKZ

“Giannis, that’s what he’s been doing all year, coming weak side, blocking shots.” pic.twitter.com/wPXEu8PxYe

"We wanted this bad and the team showed it tonight. But we gotta keep getting better." @MotorolaUS | #FearTheDeer pic.twitter.com/Angxlui9If

2 to go. pic.twitter.com/53MD9kJiPq

LET’S GO!!!!! #FearTheDeer #NBAFinals #bucks https://t.co/ff4RQTs8Df

These two. 🥺 pic.twitter.com/3DIEZyEqgR

The best plays from tonight's Game 4 WIN!! pic.twitter.com/k9h3fSDZY3

Walking bucket.@MotorolaUS | #FearTheDeer pic.twitter.com/k5zcQyEzCC

Back to Phoenix. pic.twitter.com/H0NlwHponK

THE BLOCK. pic.twitter.com/ZzzRJ2f6MI

THAT’S TUFF, KHRIS. pic.twitter.com/wvtkbr6txU

The series is EVEN. pic.twitter.com/pGN1lRnrxS

Paul lays it in, but there's just not enough time left. This series is tied 2-2 after the Bucks win 109-103.

Holiday makes them both. It's 109-101.

BUCKS WIN!! pic.twitter.com/gKVYmcyqkf

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