Milwaukee Bucks (60-33) vs. Phoenix Suns (65-27)
July 17, 2021 9:00 pm EDT
The Line: Phoenix Suns -4; Over/Under: +218
(Click here for latest betting odds)
The Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns collide in a pivotal Game 5 of the NBA Finals at the PHX Arena on Saturday night.
The Milwaukee Bucks didn’t panic after dropping the first two games of the series and they are now gunning for a third straight win after outlasting the Suns in a 109-103 win in Game 4 on Wednesday. Khris Middleton led the team with 40 points, six rebounds and four assists on 15 of 33 shooting, Giannis Antetokounmpo racked up 26 points with 14 rebounds, eight assists, three steals and two blocks while Brook Lopez chipped in with 14 points in 19 minutes of action. As a team, the Bucks shot just 40 percent from the field and seven of 29 from the 3-point line, but this win was all about their defense, particularly in the fourth quarter where they outscored the Suns by 33-21 to overcome a nine-point deficit. Bobby Portis had a rough shooting night as he finished with just three points on one of six shooting off the bench, while Jrue Holiday scored just 17 points on four of 20 shooting.
Meanwhile, the Phoenix Suns will still be kicking themselves after missing out on a major chance to go up 3-1 in the series. Devin Booker had the hot hand right from the start as he poured in a game-high 42 points on 17 of 28 shooting, Jae Crowder added 15 points with eight rebounds, three assists, three steals and three blocks while Chris Paul finished with just 10 points and seven assists. As a team, the Suns shot a healthy 51 percent from the field and seven of 23 from the 3-point line as they took the early lead and looked to be in full control after holding a nine-point lead early in the fourth quarter, only to go ice-cold when it mattered most as Booker collected his fifth foul which forced him to sit. Even with Booker on the sidelines, the Suns had their chances to pull off the win, but Chris Paul and Cameron Johnson scored just 10 points each while DeAndre Ayton finished with just six points on three of nine shooting.
Looking at the betting trends, the Bucks are 3-11 ATS in their last 14 games as an underdog, 4-1 ATS in their last five games against a team with a winning record and 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall. The Suns are 36-16 ATS in their last 52 home games, 46-19-1 ATS in their last 66 games against a team with a winning record and 12-5 ATS in their last 17 games overall.
Head to head, the over is 6-1-1 in the last eight meetings overall, the Bucks are 0-5 ATS in the last five meetings in Phoenix and the Bucks are 3-8 ATS in the last 11 meetings overall.
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The Suns will be ruing their missed opportunities after blowing a 2-0 series lead to the Bucks who now hold all the momentum in the NBA Finals. Antetokounmpo came up big on the defensive end for the Bucks on Wednesday, while Middleton is fresh off his best game of the postseason, so there’s plenty of optimism for the Bucks who pulled out the win despite a horrid shooting performance from Holiday. Booker was a one-man wrecking crew for the Suns, but his foul trouble caught up with him in the fourth quarter which turned out to be a real turning point in a close contest. You can make an argument for either side here, but I think this series is going to be one of those where neither team wins on the road. With that being said, I think Paul bounces back with a big performance here, so I’m sticking with the Suns to respond with a narrow win in front of a packed home crowd in this one.