It seemed like it was just yesterday that the Phoenix Suns took a 2-0 series lead in the 2020-21 NBA Finals. Fast forward to this weekend and the Milwaukee Bucks have tied up the series with Game 5 scheduled to be played in Phoenix on Saturday. With a 3-2 lead on the line, which team will step up to be within one win of winning the NBA Championship?
Here’s a look at the odds for Saturday’s Game 5, courtesy of BetOnline.
NBA Finals Odds: Milwaukee Bucks vs Phoenix Suns Game 5
Odds via BetOnline as of Friday, July 16
- Series: Series is tied 2-2
- Time: 9:00 p.m. EST
- Moneyline: Bucks (+150) vs Suns (-170)
- Point Spread: Bucks: +4.0 (-110), Suns: -4.0 (-110)
- Total: 218.0 — Over (-110), Under (-110)
Bucks Continue to Be Underdogs
Despite winning the last two games to tie up the series, the Bucks will enter Game 5 of the NBA Finals as the +150 underdogs against the Suns. Obviously, the underdog moniker hasn’t limited Milwaukee in the past as experts and oddsmakers were in doubt before the series even began.
One way that the Bucks can continue to shut up the doubters is if they can get Khris Middleton to perform as he did in Game 4. The 29-year-old small forward dropped a team-high 40 points in Milwaukee’s 109-103 victory on Wednesday. Considering how Middleton has sometimes disappeared in the next game following a major performance, the Bucks need him to remain consistent for the remainder of the series.
Another thing the Bucks can do if they want to pull off the upset against the Suns is to continue playing amazing defense. Milwaukee forced Phoenix to turn over the ball 17 times in Game 4, which makes it difficult for the latter to find success in the NBA Finals. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday led the charge in this area as each man had 3 steals on the night. Regardless, the Bucks capitalized on those giveaways, outscoring the Suns 24-5 in points off turnovers.
All in all, there’s a lot that Milwaukee did right in Game 4 that it could carry over for a possible Game 5 victory.
The Suns Looking to Regain NBA Finals Momentum
The Suns that we’ve seen over the last two games look like a different team than the one that opened the NBA Finals. Needless to say, there’s a lot that needs to be worked on following the team’s loss on Wednesday.
Aside from Devin Booker’s 42-point performance, no other Phoenix player had more than 15 points on the night. Chris Paul had a disappointing game, finishing the contest with just 10 points on 5-for-13 shooting from the field. Even Deandre Ayton had a lackluster offensive performance. He may have had a game-high 17 rebounds, but his 6 points and 33.3% field goal shooting left a lot to be desired. With both Paul and Ayton being two of Phoenix’s top three players, they’re in dire need of a bounce-back performance on Saturday.
While the Suns did shoot well from the field as a team (.513) in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, their real issue came from the 3-point line. Phoenix shot just .304 from beyond the arc last contest — significantly below the .372 they’ve averaged throughout the postseason. All in all, it was an extremely uncharacteristic performance from the Suns. They’re supposed to be the defensive specialists that can hit the 3-point shot, however, neither of those traits were anywhere to be found in Game 4.
As the -170 favorites heading into the weekend, the Suns best path to the Larry O’Brien Trophy would be to win on Saturday. Otherwise, all of the NBA Finals momentum may belong to the Bucks.