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!
Email from George Willinger III:
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 win!
Suns 103-109 Bucks, FINAL
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.
Suns 101-107 Bucks, 7.3, 4th quarter
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.
Suns 99-105 Bucks, 20.8, 4th quarter
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!
Suns 99-103 Bucks, 27.2, 4th quarter
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!
Suns 99-101 Bucks, 50.7, 4th quarter
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.
Suns 99-99 Bucks, 1:41, 4th quarter
Crowder picks up his fifth foul and Middleton scores to re-tie this game. This is so going to overtime.
Suns 99-97 Bucks, 2:30, 4th quarter
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.
Suns 97-97 Bucks, 2:52, 4th quarter
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:
Booker somehow avoids fouling out
Suns 95-94 Bucks, 3:30, 4th quarter
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.
Suns 95-92 Bucks, 4:03, 4th quarter
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.
Suns 95-90 Bucks, 5:31, 4th quarter
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.
Suns 93-88 Bucks, 6:27, 4th quarter
Tucker fouls Crowder, or at least that’s what the officials say he does, and he gets three free throws and gets all three.
Suns 90-88 Bucks, 6:36, 4th quarter
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…
Suns 90-86 Bucks, 7:09, 4th quarter
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.
Suns 89-86 Bucks, 7:43, 4th quarter
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.
Suns 87-82 Bucks, 8:39, 4th quarter
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.
Suns 87-81 Bucks, 8:51, 4th quarter
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.
Suns 87-81 Bucks, 9:50, 4th quarter
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.
Suns 85-79 Bucks, 11:23, 4th quarter
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.
Suns 82-76 Bucks, end of the 3rd quarter
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.
Suns 77-73 Bucks, 1:23, 3rd quarter
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.
Suns 73-73 Bucks, 2:30, 3rd quarter
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.
Suns 73-70 Bucks, 2:33, 3rd quarter
Fouls be damned, Booker is back in the game and he extends the Suns lead back to three. Phoenix with a timeout.
Suns 71-70 Bucks, 3:07, 3rd quarter
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.
Suns 69-67 Bucks, 4:32, 3rd quarter
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.
Suns 69-66 Bucks, 4:32, 3rd quarter
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.