Suns vs. Bucks Odds, Game 4 Preview, Picks, & Prediction
Suns vs. Bucks Odds
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Just two weeks ago we were wondering if Giannis Antetkounmpo had suffered a career-altering injury and now he’s on track for one of the most historic Finals performances ever. After finding his legs in Game 1, Giannis has posted back-to-back 40+ point, 12+ rebound performances, helping Milwaukee pull out the win in Game 3. Milwaukee will now look to even the series on Thursday night in another home game at the Fiserv Forum.
Bucks: Giannis Has Been Dominant
Potentially the craziest part about the numbers Giannis has been posting is that they look almost entirely sustainable. After placing too much confidence in his jumper in the Brooklyn series, the Greek Freak has done a much better job at attacking the rim, attempting more than three 3-pointers just once in his last seven games. Milwaukee has also done a much better job getting Giannis the ball close to the hoop and it certainly helps that Giannis has seen more time as the de facto Center in small-ball lineups over the last two games. Look for that trend to continue in Game 4, largely coming at the expense of Brook Lopez minutes.
Bobby Portis was also a direct beneficiary of Lopez playing just 21 minutes in Game 3 and was vital to Milwaukee’s success. Despite just shooting 4-of-11 from the field, Portis was still a big enough offensive threat that he demanded defensive attention. More importantly, Portis provided the Bucks with some much needed energy and grabbed the second most (8) boards on the team.
Milwaukee also made some notable defensive changes in Game 3 as well that will likely carry over to Game 4. First, the Bucks put more pressure on the ball, often times picking up the ball full court after a made basket. They also switched in the half-court more frequently, which is something they are more capable of doing in their small-ball lineups. Jrue Holiday was the defensive MVP and should see plenty of time against Devin Booker and Chris Paul again in Game 4. Holiday also provided an offensive spark, something the Bucks will need again from him on Thursday night as Khris Middleton continues to battle with Mikal Bridges.
Suns Need Ayton to Stay Out of Foul Trouble
If you told me at the beginning of the season that Deandre Ayton would be the key to the Suns playoff success I would have called you crazy. However, that is certainly the case in this Finals, and it’s even more exaggerated with the loss of Dario Saric. Not only is Ayton the only Suns player that has even a remote chance at stopping Giannis but Phoenix’s frontcourt depth is an absolute disaster. That makes Ayton staying out of foul trouble crucial.
We saw Monty Williams’ options if Ayton gets in foul trouble in Game 3 and they aren’t pretty. Williams initially went with a small-ball lineup that looked to be having some success thanks to Cam Johnson going on a bit of a mini-streak but it didn’t take long for Milwaukee to figure out how to get Giannis the ball with smaller defenders on him. Williams then gave Frank Kaminsky minutes at Center, which was an even bigger disaster.
Suns vs. Bucks Picks
For Phoenix to win this series, they are going to need to get 40+ minutes/game out of Ayton and if I were a Suns fan I would be a little worried that Milwaukee may have figured that out. I fully expect the Bucks to attack Ayton aggressively early and often in Game 4 and the game may hinge on whether or not he’s able to stay out of foul trouble. Perhaps a reassuring point for Phoenix fans is that Ayton has never struggled with foul trouble throughout his young career as he’s averaged just 3.4 fouls per 36 minutes.
Phoenix backers shouldn’t be surprised Milwaukee was able to pull out a win at home but they should at least be a little concerned at how convincing it was. While the Suns did pull within four points in the third quarter, Game 3 was never in doubt and it appeared that Milwaukee had made some critical adjustments on both ends of the floor. It’s possible that the Suns will be able to respond with their own adjustments in Game 4, or it’s possible that Devin Booker just plays better, but I like what I saw out of the Bucks and think they send this series back to Phoenix all tied up.
As a bonus pick, I mentioned in this “Player Props article”:/https://rotogrinders.com/articles/nba-player-prop-bets-picks-bucks-suns-game-3-chris-paul-jae-crowder-3653537 prior to Game 3 that I will continue to bet over on Chris Paul’s assist prop as long as it stays in the 8.5-9 range. Paul continues to rack up potential assist opportunities – 17.3/game over the first three games – and beat this number in the third quarter of Game 3.
ATS Pick: MIL -4.5
Prop Bet: Chris Paul Over 8.5 Assists