Milwaukee Bucks: Grades from exciting Game 4 win vs. Phoenix Suns

Jul 14, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 14, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Phoenix Suns: Devin Booker
Jul 14, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

How did the starting five perform for the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 4 win vs. Phoenix Suns?

All eyes will immediately lock onto Jrue Holiday’s poor shooting performance in Game 4, and rightfully so. The guard had an unbearable night trying to get the basketball in the hoop by going 4-of-20 from the field, including missing five 3-point attempts. Getting a massive boost from the line by hitting five free throws, Holiday would finish with 13 points in total.  Despite those near-cataclysmic numbers, No. 21 would step up elsewhere on the floor by handing out seven assists to just one turnover and bringing down seven rebounds. Three of those boards came on the offensive glass as the guard helped keep several key possessions alive, one of the biggest rebounds coming with just under a minute left in the fourth quarter to help wind the clock down. Holiday would have his hands full defensively as Phoenix’s Devin Booker erupted for a sensational performance and he was tasked with trying to slow him down. He would tally three steals to help escalate Phoenix’s large turnover sum on the night. While he will receive criticism for his shooting night, the guard made good elsewhere, and he will receive a very generous grade because of it.. PG. Milwaukee Bucks. JRUE HOLIDAY. D+

A+. With the Suns looking to combat Giannis Antetokounmpo’s assault after his dominance early on in the series, the Bucks desperately needed Khris Middleton to get going. He answered the call, having a career night by scoring 40 points on 15-of-33 shooting, including hitting three triples on eight attempts. Included in that scoring barrage was 10 points down the stretch to help mount Milwaukee’s comeback and ultimately secure the six-point victory. His scoring will undoubtedly make the headlines this morning, but he did far more than just score the basketball as he grabbed six rebounds, handed out four assists, snatched two steals, and turned the ball over just one time to cap off a fantastic night. This performance was exactly what Milwaukee needed from Middleton, and one could not have scripted a better night from No. 22 as he ultimately propelled the Bucks to a win to even up the series.. SG. Milwaukee Bucks. KHRIS MIDDLETON

SF. Milwaukee Bucks. P.J. TUCKER. D-. P.J. Tucker has undeniably done some fantastic things for the Bucks in these playoffs, but last night’s outing was hard to watch from the forward. He would finish with five personal fouls, making far too many egregious decisions that would lead to free throw opportunities and extra possessions for the Suns. It was quite uncharacteristic from the defensive ace as the head-scratching plays continued piling up one after another. Still, despite that recurring problem, Tucker would make several key hustle plays, particularly on the glass by hauling in five rebounds, three of which came on the offensive end alone. He would finish the game scoreless after missing his lone shot attempt from the floor, but the Bucks have never relied on him to score the basketball prolifically.

Milwaukee Bucks. GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO. A. After dominating throughout the first three matchups in this series, the Suns made a consensus effort to slow down Giannis Antetokounmpo this time around. He looked rattled early on, settling for several uncharacteristic shots, highlighted by back-to-back 3-pointers. However, as the game progressed, Antetokounmpo turned the tide and started to play like himself one more and stuffed the stat sheet to the brim. The Greek Freak would finish with 26 points on 57.9 percent shooting from the floor, seeing most of his success close to the hoop. The Suns looked to get the basketball out of his hands, and Antetokounmpo made them pay by handing out eight assists on the night, making all the right plays. The biggest was a pass to a wide-open look to Pat Connaughton in the corner, who promptly knocked in the triple to give the Bucks the lead. He was also a monster on the glass by hauling in 14 rebounds, but the biggest highlight of the night came on the defensive end. With Phoenix’s Deandre Ayton going up to catch a lob pass that would have tied the game, Antetokounmpo rose up and denied the shot to keep Milwaukee’s lead at two. That block will be the featured highlight from Antetokounmpo’s spectacular performance, and deservingly so.. PF

Brook Lopez played just 19 minutes in this game as the Bucks elected to run Antetokounmpo at the center position, which has been impactful during this series. Yet, when he was fortunate enough to see the floor, the big man tallied 14 points on 4-of-9 shooting, all five of his misses coming from 3-point territory. Fans are still begging the big man to put the ball on the floor and get into the lane rather than settle for these ill-advised shots from the perimeter. When he did, he saw success and got a huge lift from the free throw line by hitting all six attempts. Lopez was a team-low -13 on the night, showing the massive importance of small-ball for this team.. C. Milwaukee Bucks. BROOK LOPEZ. C+