Milwaukee Bucks vs Phoenix Suns 7/17/21: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds

Bucks Suns Matchup Preview

If you are a fan of the NBA, you probably love that this NBA Finals series has become competitive. We get to keep watching basketball just a little bit longer. After the first two games when the Phoenix Suns dominated on their home court, it looked pretty dismal for the Milwaukee Bucks.

However, after a resurgence on their home floor, which Milwaukee has played with a lot of heart on, this series is all tied up at 2-2.

The Suns have an inherent edge since they have home-court advantage, but anything is possible. Milwaukee knew that it had to get the job done at home after going down 0-2 to start the Finals, and the Bucks grew and matured virtually overnight.

Game 4 was an absolute brawl, and Middleton and Booker went back and forth all night. Middleton ended the night with 40 points, and Booker topped that with 42 points. Jrue Holiday struggled, shooting only 4-for-20 from the floor but providing strong on-ball defense.

Meanwhile, Giannis posted another impressive game with 26 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists, three steals, and two blocks. One of those blocks came on a crucial alley-oop attempt to Deandre Ayton.

Giannis has been playing like a Finals MVP with averages of 32.3 points, 14 rebounds, and 5.5 rebounds per game. It will take an equally impressive effort from him and Middleton to win Game 5 in Phoenix.

Additionally, Milwaukee would have to be much more efficient in its shooting from the floor, which was abysmal. This scares me because it will inevitably be harder to shoot in Phoenix than to shoot at home.

For odds movement and full matchup history, visit the Phoenix Suns vs Milwaukee Bucks Matchup Page.

TV Schedule

Date: 7/17/21
Time: 9:00 PM ET
Arena: Phoenix Suns Arena – Phoenix, AZ
Channel: ABC

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Bucks Starting 5

PG: Jrue Holiday
SG: Khris Middleton
SF: P.J. Tucker
PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo
C: Brook Lopez

Milwaukee Bucks Analysis

Milwaukee Bucks

In the Game 4 matchup preview, I stated that Milwaukee needed Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpoto to have big games simultaneously. Luckily for Milwaukee Bucks fans, this happened as Middleton finished with 40 points, while Giannis had a complete game with 26 points and 14 rebounds.

I also called on Middleton to step up and have a big game because he had disappeared the previous two games. Phoenix’s wings had virtually shut him down, but they seemed to have no answer for him in Game 5.

After the first two games of these Finals, it looked like Milwaukee was dead in the water, but they have been revived behind the heart of Giannis Antetokounmpo, and most recently, the stellar shooting of Khris Middleton. This will have to continue if they want a chance at taking home the trophy.

There are always ways to nitpick the Milwaukee Bucks, though, because I still don’t believe they have reached their ceiling as a team. In terms of their offensive efficiency, they badly need improvement as soon as the next game.

The Bucks shot merely 40% from the field and an atrocious 24% from behind the arc. Milwaukee ultimately won the game because of Giannis and Middleton’s play and the team’s defensive effort, offensive rebounding, and ball control. Jrue Holiday was terrible from the field, shooting merely 4-for-20, but he did supply supreme effort and defense with seven rebounds, seven assists, and three steals.

The Bucks only had five turnovers while the Suns had 17 turnovers. On the offensive glass, Milwaukee secured a spectacular 17 offensive rebounds. Meanwhile, Phoenix only was able to snag five offensive rebounds throughout the entirety of the game.

Phoenix blew that game, and that could come back to haunt them. Being up 3-1 with two of the following three games being home games is much cozier than being tied up after four. Milwaukee was able to stay poised, despite being horrific offensively.

To put it concisely, though, if the Bucks play like this again, they will not win in Phoenix. The Suns will clean up the turnovers and defensive rebounding issues, so shooting 40% from the field won’t get them by this time.

Suns Starting 5

PG: Chris Paul
SG: Devin Booker
SF: Mikal Bridges
PF: Jae Crowder
C: Deandre Ayton

Suns Analysis

phoenix suns

Devin Booker came out on a mission in Game 4, doing his best to try and steal a road game in his first NBA Finals. After dropping 42 points, the Suns still came up short, unfortunately.

Chris Paul’s recent struggles have surprised even the biggest critics of the “Point God.” He went 5-for-13 from the field for ten points while also amassing five turnovers, which is exceptionally high for him.

Also struggling in Game 4 was Deandre Ayton. Ayton is usually extraordinarily efficient but went 3-for-9 from the field. However, Ayton was able to provide a ton of value elsewhere and secure 17 total rebounds.

The rebounding disparity, especially on the defensive end of the floor, for the Phoenix Suns was one of the most concerning aspects in Game 4. Ayton cannot box out every Bucks player on the floor. Therefore, if Phoenix wants to win this series, it will have to figure out how to fix that as soon as possible.

There needs to be more offensive balancing and consistency if the Suns want to get out of this slight slump. They can’t rely on Booker to drop 40 points in every game because that just won’t happen. The Suns are at their best when they have Ayton, Paul, and Booker all hovering around that 20-30 point range because it becomes incredibly challenging to defend.

Suns vs. Bucks Betting Odds

Both teams have been wildly efficient against the spread at home throughout the season and the playoffs. Specifically, in the playoffs, the Milwaukee Bucks are 12-9 against the spread, while the Phoenix Suns are 13-7. Phoenix was 28-13 against the spread as a home favorite this year, an astonishing 68%.

Milwaukee has much less experience being an away underdog, only tallying seven games total in this category. Its ATS record is 2-5 in those games, which should not instill much faith in bettors about Milwaukee’s ability to cover the spread against challenging opponents on the road.

I suggest taking Phoenix against the spread in Game 5. In short, what you need to know is that the Phoenix Suns won’t lose three games in a row. I just don’t see it happening. They have too much talent, discipline and are too well-coached to lose three straight to the Bucks.

The spread on most sportsbooks right now has Phoenix as a four-point favorite. This is a great time to bet on Phoenix, as the Suns have lost two straight but remain the better overall team, in my opinion. Take Phoenix -4 before the spread widens further.

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Andrew has watched sports since as young as he can remember and was fortunate enough to play college basketball. As a kid, he would sneak his Space Jam Michael Jordan jersey into his pre-school so he could wear it every day. Mom was not a happy camper when she found out.

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