NBA finals 2021 Game 4: Phoenix Suns 103-109 Milwaukee Bucks – live!

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The Guardian 14 July, 2021 - 10:37pm 20 views

On the other end, this is a brutal finish for the Suns who looked to be in control for much of the fourth. Booker scored 42 points and miraculously avoided fouling out but it wasn’t enough. Worse yet, it was team leader Chris Paul who ended up being the goat, combining a mostly brutal offensive production with a disastrous turnover late in the fourth. If the Suns stick the landing here, they’re probably a game away from a championship. Instead, the Bucks have ensured that this is going at least six games.

And we’ll be covering the NBA Finals here at the Guardian, although this is the end of today’s live coverage. I want to thank everybody who joined us for Game 4 between the Bucks and the Suns, especially those who have contributed with their comments. Ciao!

I’m not sure if it technically was a good game, but it absolutely was an entertaining one. Oddly enough it feels like the turning point was when the officials didn’t call that sixth foul on Devin Booker. Instead of crumbling, they decided they had to take control of matters themselves because they weren’t going to get any help. And they did.

The Milwaukee Bucks have tied up the NBA Finals at 2-2!

Holiday gets his free throws but all that really changes in the final margin. Paul pads his stats with a layup and the clock hits zero. The Milwaukee Bucks have won Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

Booker makes a layup to keep his team mathematically alive. Johnson fouls Middleton, who is back on the line and he makes both. This one is all but over.

Out of the timeout, Booker goes for a layup and it’s nothing doing. Antetokounmpo with the rebound. This Bucks crowd is super-loud! The Suns have to put Middleton on the line where he can essentially seal this game. What an absolutely bewildering ending this could be! He makes both, a six point lead!

The Bucks can’t get anything to happens, giving the Suns a perfect opportunity here to..

But no! Chris Paul loses control of the ball! Wow! Giannis with the steal gets the ball to Holiday who finds Middleton who drives the ball home and somehow the Bucks have a four-point lead! The Suns take a timeout!

The Suns have on last foul to give without giving the Bucks automatic free throws. It doesn’t matter as Middleton still scores on his next opportunity. The Bucks have the lead. Giannis gets a huge block on the other end.

Crowder picks up his fifth foul and Middleton scores to re-tie this game. This is so going to overtime.

Giannis gets called for a foul here and boy are the Bucks fans very not happy with that. It puts Crowder on the line where he, of course, makes both. Phoenix lead.

Giannis blocks Paul’s shot and Connaughton makes a three-pointer to give the Bucks a lead. It, of course, doesn’t hold up for more than a second as Booker, who should not be here, answers with a bucket of his own.

That was the worst no-call I’ve seen in a long time and a brief glimpse of Twitter shows that I’m not alone on this. Bucks superfan Sheryl Crow, for instance, can’t believe it:

REFS YOU’RE KILLING ME! WTF! 😡#NBAFinals

Booker picks up his sixth foul by trying to stop Giannis… or would if the officials actually called it. He should be out of the game, but he’s not. The good news is that Giannis still manages to get the rebound and complete the play to narrow the Phoenix lead down to a single point but this is a mammoth non-call right here.

Giannis with a three that *just* bounces off, but Connaughton secures the rebound and tips it in. Huge, huge move. Can the Bucks get a stop here? Yes, Portis with a defensive rebound. Portis attempts a layup but Ayton blocks him. The Bucks get another chance but it’s no doing and Ayton eventually corrals that. Huge missed opportunity that.

Middleton hits the 30 point mark with a layup. On the other end, Portis gets a huge block on Payne who is trying for a layup of his own. It’s a beautiful moment, but Johnson just ends up increasing the Suns lead so ultimately it was for naught.

Tucker fouls Crowder, or at least that’s what the officials say he does, and he gets three free throws and gets all three.

If the Bucks lose this one, it’s going to hurt. The Suns aren’t playing anything close to their best effort here but they just can’t seem to get out of their own way. Well, one thing will help is this Giannis dunk that pulls them within two.

What’s it like to watch this game? Well...

I am watching with sound off but it looks like everyone is complaining about every call and everyone is right.

Paul misses a three, the Bucks have a three-pointer on their end… but Connaughton can’t hit it. In the scramble, Connaughton loses the ball and ends up fouling Crowder to put him on the line. The crowd boos understandably. Crowder misses the first one, to Milwaukee’s collective delight, but lands the second one. Milwaukee calls a timeout to calm everything down, this entire thing seems to be close to on-tilt.

Middleton with a layup to keep Milwaukee close. Oh wow, Giannis picks off Crowder and runs to the other end for an emphatic dunk that cuts the lead to three points.

Another Crowder foul puts Giannis on the line for some free throws that the Bucks desperately need. He hits just one of two. Chris Paul gets the ball and he finally gets one to go down.

Chris Paul puts one up and his poor shooting night continues. The Bucks get several chances on their end but can’t get anything up. Holiday had a layup chance there but couldn’t get it done plus Giannis gets charged with a possession-changing foul.

Big news for the Bucks: they almost immediately get a fifth foul on Booker. Holiay scores on the possession after the team takes out Booker. Bookmark that sequence for later.

Cam Johnson hits a two-pointer for Phoenix.

Cam Johnson with a three to extend the Phoenix lead. Connaughton answers with one of their own. That’s a way to start a fourth quarter.

This could end up being one of those career-defining games for Devin Booker who already has 38 points and there’s an entire quarter left in the game. Now the Suns’ need to find a way to keep him out of foul trouble.

Payne with a big three and his team now has a seven-point lead… Never mind, it’s four now, Middleton gets a three of his own. Nobody’s running away with this one. Booker loses control of the ball, the Bucks get it back but after a scrum the ball ends up going off of Middleton and it’s now Phoenix ball. Probably could have been a foul there, but hey it’s the playoffs. On the other end, Booker is automatic with a jumper. Bucks have the last possession of the series but get absolutely swarmed and can’t do anything with it. Suns up six heading to the fourth.

Devin Booker with the longest of long twos (it’s briefly ruled a three-pointer) and then he gets back on the line and adds two more free throws to his total. Huge Phoenix swing there.

I realized I promised online that I would include as many “I Think You Should Leave” references as possible during this liveblog but this game really hasn’t left me much time to riff: which is a good thing for everybody quite honestly.

When we get back, Middleton is on the line and makes one of two free throws, but Lopez tips in the second miss. What a break for he Bucks and it’s a tied game.

Fouls be damned, Booker is back in the game and he extends the Suns lead back to three. Phoenix with a timeout.

And Pat Connaughton hits his first basket and it’s a three-pointer that gives the Bucks a lead… that barely lasts a few seconds, as Payne drives in for a layup while picking up a foul along the way.

He misses the free throw however.

Now, Paul picks up a foul and Giannis is on the line. His first free throw attempt is no good. But he makes the second.

Oh, there’s Chris Paul who makes a shot. Holiday finds Giannis for a layup that gets the audience excited… until a Paul layup immediately quiets them. The scoring binge continues with Middleton hitting a mid-ranger.

Read full article at The Guardian

Dan Majerle reflects on Suns-Bulls '93 Finals, battling Michael Jordan and John Paxson's 3

USA TODAY 14 July, 2021 - 11:02pm

Dan Majerle was targeted by Michael Jordan in the 1993 NBA Finals because Bulls' GM lauded Majerle's defense.

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Bulls legend B.J. Armstrong recounts a crazy story of how the Phoenix Suns tried to mess up Michael Jordan's golf game in hopes of impacting his play on the court during the 1993 NBA Finals. USA TODAY

MILWAUKEE – Nearly 28 years have passed since former Phoenix Suns guard Dan Majerle first felt the anguish over losing to the Chicago Bulls in the 1993 NBA Finals. The hurt still lingers.

So much so that Majerle admitted he still reflects on former Chicago Bulls guard John Paxson making a game-winning 3-pointer in a decisive Game 6 at least once a week.

“I think about it a lot,” Majerle told USA TODAY Sports. “They show it a lot. But I do think about it a lot.”

Majerle received more reminders last summer when he watched “The Last Dance” documentary on Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.

Then, Jordan revealed he became motivated to play well against Majerle because former Bulls general manager Jerry Krause respected Majerle’s defense. As explained throughout the documentary, Jordan had despised Krause partly because of Krause's desire to receive more credit for how he evaluated talent and assembled teams.

“It’s a point of pride for me,” Majerle said. “You got the greatest player in the world, that has ever played basketball sitting there and talking about that one of his motivations was to kick your ass. That’s not a bad thing.”

Still, that viewing experience only brought more painful reminders of the Suns’ shortcomings. Perhaps Majerle will experience some solace soon, though. Phoenix has finally returned to the NBA Finals for the first time since Paxson’s dagger and Jordan’s dominance darkened the Suns’ championship hopes.

The Suns have a 2-1 Finals series lead over the Milwaukee Bucks entering Game 4 on Wednesday. Though he considered the Bucks “a hard team to beat” after winning Game 3, Majerle expects the Suns to experience a happier ending than the last time they played in the NBA Finals.

“I knew Milwaukee would bounce back and make this a series. But I still think the Suns are going to win,” Majerle said. “I’m actually picking them in six [games]. But I knew it wouldn’t be an easy series at all.”

After all, Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo has recorded consecutive 40-point performances in Games 2 and 3. He also has said he feels healthy from a hyperextended left knee that sidelined him for Games 5 and 6 of the Eastern Conference finals against Atlanta. Bucks guard Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday have also emerged as complementary pieces.

Still, Majerle views this series through a partisan lens for various reasons. Majerle considers Suns guards Chris Paul and Devin Booker to be “superstars.” Majerle has become encouraged with Phoenix’s depth, its chemistry and Deandre Ayton’s development in his third season. And Majerle has admired the Suns’ resiliency, highlighted partly with their league-leading 24-12 road record.

The Suns have shown reverence toward the 1993 NBA Finals team in various ways. Majerle and Charles Barkley have appearances on the Suns’ pre-game hype video. Booker has worn a T-shirt honoring that year’s Suns team. But because of busy schedules and pandemic restrictions, team accounts say there has not been much contact recently among Suns luminaries and the current team.

Suns coach Monty Williams briefly exchanged text messages with former Suns guard Steve Nash, the Brooklyn Nets’ head coach. Paul has made appearances on TNT where Barkley has served as a longtime analyst. Majerle has also kept a low profile after attending the Suns’ Game 2 first-round loss to the Los Angeles Lakers and Game 5 loss to the Clippers in the Western Conference finals. Majerle has stayed home both for comfort and in hopes to boost the Suns’ fortunes of avoiding another Finals disappointment.

“This Suns franchise has been around for 50 plus years, and it’s been one of the most successful franchises in the history of the NBA,” Majerle said. “It just hasn’t won a championship yet.”

Majerle envisioned the Suns would finally win their first NBA title once they acquired Barkley from the Philadelphia 76ers before the 1992-93 season. Before that, the Suns already had had four consecutive playoff appearances.

“He was just a guy that was able to put us over the top,” Majerle said of Barkley. “He was such a good teammate and good guy to be around and fun to be around. He got along with everybody. It just helped build our chemistry.”

That also helped Majerle, who led the NBA that season in 3-point shooting (38.1%) after spending more of his offseason perfecting that part of his game.

“We had so many good players on that team that if they did double team Charles in the post, somebody else would hurt you,” Majerle said. “If they didn’t, he was going to go for 40.”

That explains why Majerle sees parallels between the Suns’ 1993 Finals team and the current squad. Both teams had a star player (Barkley, Paul) and dependable teammates that all got along managed by a collaborative coach (Monty Williams, the late Paul Westphal).

“Westphal had a knack of letting us play and trusting us,” Majerle said. “But being firm when he had to do. He was really good offensively as far as drawing plays up and giving you the freedom to be a player. So I think he was the perfect coach for that team. I thought he did a really good job.”

No offense to the current Suns team. But unlike the 1992-93 team, they did not have to worry about Jordan. He became the primary reason why the Bulls cemented a 2-0 series lead over the top-seeded Suns. Jordan took his frustrations out on Majerle, even if he went out of his way not to talk trash while making him work.

“You didn’t want to fire him up too much. If you get him mad, he’s going to give you 50 [points],” Majerle said. “So my thing was just talk about golf and make sure I stayed even keel. Then maybe he just gives you 30 and goes on about his way.”

Still, the Suns won two out of the next three games to ensure a Game 6 in Phoenix. When the Suns held a 98-96 lead over the Bulls with 14.1 seconds left, Majerle said team huddled up confident about its game plan. As Majerle recalled the Suns saying, “‘if they make a 2, we go to overtime and we’ll win in overtime; just no 3’s.’”

Easier said than done. Jordan was picked up even before he crossed halfcourt. But Jordan passed inside to Scottie Pippen, who darted the ball to Horace Grant. He kicked the ball out to a wide-open Paxson from deep. Then, Majerle clutched his head as he stood underneath it

“As soon as he let it go, I knew it was over,” Majerle said. “It was depressing to have such a great year and such an unbelievable run at it to be over at that quick of a second.”

To this day, Majerle remains convinced the Suns would have won the NBA title had they forced a Game 7. Instead, Majerle has relived Paxson’s game winner at least 1,433 times for the past 28 years. Perhaps more.

Either way, Majerle sounded bullish this year’s Suns team won’t experience the same disappointment.

“I know it’s going to be hard,” Majerle said. “But I think the Suns are too good of a team to beat this year.”

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Suns vs. Bucks, NBA Finals score: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee try to even series at home in Game 4

CBSSports.com 14 July, 2021 - 09:58pm

The Milwaukee Bucks were in desperate need of a win entering Game 3 of the NBA Finals, and they got the job done with a 120-100 victory over the Phoenix Suns. They can even the series on Wednesday by taking care of business again at home, and in the process, they would become the third team ever to erase a 2-0 Finals deficit after losing the first two games by double digits. If not, the Suns will return to Phoenix holding a commanding 3-1 lead that would put them one win away from their first championship. With all of that on the line for both sides, it is the Suns who own a lead over the Bucks entering the fourth quarter at Fiserv Forum as Devin Booker is putting on a show on the offensive end.  

The home team has won each game so far. Milwaukee improved to 8-1 at Fiserv Forum this postseason, and is 16-1 dating back to the regular season. Giannis Antetokounmpo had another monster line (41 points, 13 rebounds, six assists) in the win, joining Shaquille O' Neal (2000) as the only players in Finals history with back-to-back 40-point, 10-rebound games. The Suns struggled on offense in Game 3 as no players cracked 20 points in Sunday's loss. Booker scored just 10 points on 3-of-14 shooting, while Chris Paul has turned the ball over 10 times in the past two games after previously averaging just 1.6 turnovers per playoff game.

For more on the NBA Finals, we've got you covered with an in-depth look at the Suns-Bucks matchup as well as a look back at the round-by-round playoff schedule, a breakdown of our expert predictions for both the NBA Finals round and the entire postseason. Follow below for all the real-time updates throughout Game 4 between Phoenix and Milwaukee.  

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

Booker misses again. Holiday gets fouled. The celebration is on here in Milwaukee. This series is tied 2-2.

HOW WE FEELING, BUCKS FANS?!? pic.twitter.com/80mNAUGoEe

Middleton makes both. Bucks by six again.

Middleton makes the second. Bucks by six, but Booker banks the layup home to cut it back to four.

Put some respect on his name!! pic.twitter.com/eYllBno1Xj

Middleton hits the first! Five-point game!

BOOKER MISSES! MIDDLETON IS GOING TO THE LINE! THE BUCKS ARE 20.8 SECONDS AWAY FROM TYING THIS SERIES UP AT 2-2!

He's a FREAK!! pic.twitter.com/psoObkEdef

The Bucks lead by four with only 27.4 seconds to go. They're in good shape here, but this game is far from over.

KHA$H MONEY. pic.twitter.com/UIKAjvE5r7

PAUL LOSES THE BALL MIDDLETON FINISHES! BUCKS BY FOUR!!!!!!!!

GIANNIS BLOCKS THE LOB! OH MY GOD!!!!!!

Giannis gets fouled in transition, but it's not free throws. They'll take it out of bounds.

Giannis fouled on the drive. That's five on Jae Crowder, but no free throws.

PC3. BANG! pic.twitter.com/mPWtvPR5rg

Crowder makes both. Suns lead by two.

Holiday misses the foul-line jumper and Crowder gets fouled on the rebound. Now he'll get two free throws.

Booker answers with the banker! We're tied at 97 apiece as Booker gets to 40 points.

CONNAUGHTON GIVES THE BUCKS THE LEAD!

Tucker is back in with five fouls. Giannis blocks Paul.

If the Bucks lose this game and this series, that no-call is going to go down in history as one of the biggest in NBA history. It could legitimately swing the championship. Oh my God.

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