Behind Khris Middleton’s playoff career-high 40 points, the Bucks and rallied past the Suns and Devin Booker’s 42-point effort to earn a 109-103 win in Game 4 of the 2021 NBA Finals and even the series at 2-2. Let’s dig into all facets of the box score to take a closer look at Milwaukee’s win.
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• Khris Middleton (42) and Devin Booker (40) became the first pair of opposing players to each score at least 40 points in the same Finals game since Allen Iverson and Shaquille O’Neal in 2001. The only other two instances came in 1993 (Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley) and 1969 (John Havlicek and Jerry West).
• Middleton and Booker both recorded career playoff highs for points, which marked Middleton’s 65th career playoff game and Booker’s 20th in his first postseason appearance. Booker’s 542 total points are the most ever by a player in his first playoff run.
• Turnovers and offensive rebounds both favored the Bucks by the margin of 17-5. Giannis Antetokounmpo had as many offensive rebounds (five) as the entire Suns teams. And Chris Paul had as many turnovers (five) as the entire Bucks team. Here are Paul’s turnover averages round-by-round: 1.5 vs. the Lakers, 1.3 vs. the Nuggets, 2.0 vs. the Clippers and 4.3 vs. the Bucks.
• Thanks to the disparity in turnovers and offensive rebounds, the Bucks finished with 19 more field goal attempts than the Suns (97-78). So despite the fact that Phoenix shot 51.3% for the game — 11.1 percentage points higher than Milwaukee’s 40.2% — the Bucks utilized their extra shots to earn the win.
• The Bucks were a plus-21 in 32 minutes with Pat Connaughton on the court, the highest plus/minus of any player by 11 points. (Khris Middleton second at plus-10.)
• The Bucks won with a team true shooting percentage of 49.7%. The last team to win a Finals game with a true shooting percentage below 50% was the 2015 Cleveland Cavaliers (44.1%) in Game 2 vs. Golden State.
• While Antetokounmpo did not lead the Bucks in scoring, he did post Milwaukee’s highest assist percentage (34.8%) and highest rebound percentage (15.6%).
• The Bucks posted a 90.6 defensive rating in Connaughton’s 32 minutes on the court; he was the only player with a rating below 100.0 for either team.
• The result of Milwaukee’s dominance on the offensive glass was a 19-7 advantage in second-chance points. After the Suns outscored the Bucks 7-3 on second-chance points in Game 1, the Bucks have responded by margins of four points in Game 2 (23-19), 18 in Game 3 (20-2) and 12 in Game 4.
• The same trend has played out in fast break points, which the Bucks won 15-0. The Suns held a 20-17 edge in Game 1, but the Bucks were plus-10 in both Games 2 and 3 before shutting out the Suns completely.
• A key factor in those transition points were Phoenix’s live-ball turnovers, which led to a 24-5 advantage in points off turnovers for the Bucks. They allowed one point for each of their five turnovers; the Suns allowed 1.4 points for each of their 17 turnovers.
• For the third straight game the Bucks held the edge in points in the paint, but by just an eight-point margin after dominating the paint each of the past two games (+26 in Game 2, + 14 in Game 3). Antetokounmpo and Booker each finished with 20 points in the paint to lead their respective teams.
• Game 4 saw the Suns take 70.5% of their shots from 2-point range – their highest mark of The Finals and third-highest of the playoffs. Phoenix has always relied on the mid-range shot, but their percentage of points from mid-range continues to increase game by game in this series: 13.6% and 15.3% in their Game 1 and Game 2 wins, 22.0% and 25.2% in their Game 3 and Game 4 losses.
• Booker posted just the seventh 40-point game with zero 3-pointers made of the 2020-21 season (regular season, play-in and playoffs). He scored 47.6% of his points in the paint (20), 33.3% from mid range (14) and 19% from the free throw line (8).
• Middleton’s 40-point night was more balanced with 30% in the paint (12), another 30% from mid-range (12), 22.5% from 3-point range (9) and 17.5% from the free throw line (7).
• Booker led all players in usage rate (44.1%) and scored 48.8% of Phoenix’s points while he was on the court. Middleton led the Bucks with 36.5% usage and scored 40.4% of Milwaukee’s points.
• Giannis recorded two-thirds of Milwaukee’s blocked shots in Game 4, none bigger than his game-saving rejection on Deandre Ayton’s alley-oop attempt in the final 75 seconds of the game.
• Milwaukee’s free throw rate has steadily climbed in this series, peaking in Game 4 at 0.299. The Bucks have held the edge in free throw rate in each of the past three games.
• The Suns and Bucks are going in opposite directions when it comes to turnover percentage. Milwaukee has seen its turnover percentage drop each game: 13.9% in Game 1, 9.6% in Game 2, 9.3% in Game 3 and 5.2% in Game 4. Meanwhile, Phoenix has seen its turnover percentage rise with each game: 8.8% in Game 1, 13.7% in Game 2, 15.5% in Game 3 and 17.5% in Game 4.
• Milwaukee’s 5.2 turnover percentage in Game 4 is not only a playoff low for the Bucks, but the third-lowest turnover percentage in any game in this year’s playoffs. The last time a team posted a lower turnover percentage in a Finals game was in Golden State’s Game 1 victory over Cleveland in 2017.
• Booker’s 42 points came on only 56 touches during Game 4, tied with Ayton for the third most on the team behind Chris Paul (79) and Jae Crowder (75).
• Booker got his buckets on both contested (6-11, 54.5%) and uncontested (11-17, 64.7%) looks. Middleton shot a higher percentage when his shots were contested (6-12, 50%) than when he was uncontested (9-21, 42.9%).
• Jrue Holiday (1-8) and Brook Lopez (1-6) combined to shoot just 2-14 on uncontested shots.
• The Bucks grabbed their 17 offensive rebounds off 42 offensive rebound chances (40.5% rate). The Bucks had more offensive rebound collected (17) than Phoenix had chances for an offensive rebound (14).
• Crowder led all players in contested shots (17) and tied for the lead in deflections (team-high four).
• Crowder also recorded four screen assists that produced eight points, which tied for second in the game with Antetokounmpo. They both trailed Ayton, who had nine screen assists that led to 19 Suns points.
• While the Suns were dominated on the offensive boards (17-5), they did finished ahead in defensive rebounds (35-31) as all 16 of Phoenix’s box outs came on the defensive end.
• Crowder held his defensive matchups to 4-19 (21.1%) shooting from the field, including 1-5 (20%) from 3-point range.
• Antetokounmpo held his defensive matchups to 3-10 (30%) shooting from the field, with two blocks and three steals, as he allowed only 10 points in his 14:17 of matchup time.
• The Suns shot just 2-9 (22.2%) from the field, including 1-4 from 3-point range, when being defended by Bobby Portis.
• Booker was defended by Holiday (4:24) and P.J. Tucker (4:23) for nearly the exact same amount of time. Booker had 10 points on 5-6 (83.3%) shooting against Holiday, and 14 points on 5-9 (55.6%) shooting against Tucker, but earned two shooting fouls against Tucker that led to 4-for-5 shooting at the foul line.
• Mikal Bridges defended Middleton for a team-high 4:25 and allowed nine points (22.5% of Middleton’s total) in 29.6% of Middleton’s offensive matchup time. Middleton scored eight points (20% of total) on 4-for-6 shooting in just 43 seconds of matchup time (4.8% of total) against Ayton.