NBA Finals 2021

NBA Finals 2021: Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo lead resilient Bucks to pivotal Game 4 win

The Bucks have done it again.

For the second time in the 2021 postseason, they come back from a 2-0 series deficit to tie things up at two games apiece and essentially making the 2021 NBA Finals a best-of-three series.

In a crucial 109-103 Game 4 win, Khris Middleton dropped a playoff career-high points tally of 40 points while Giannis Antetokounmpo stuffed the stat sheet with 26 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists, three steals and two blocks.

The duo scored or assisted on 15 of the team's game-sealing 19-8 run over the final six minutes. Their huge performances helped the Bucks withstand an entertaining bounce-back game from Booker, who finished with 42 points on an impressive 60.7 percent efficiency.

That said, here's a look at the biggest takeaways from this thrilling contest.

Khris Middleton steps up once again

For the fifth time this postseason, when the Bucks campaign was on the line, Khris Middleton has risen to the occassion.

He knocked down a few shots early in the first quarter and found his touch over the course of the game. He went from scoring seven in the first to nine in the second to 10 in the third and finally, 14 in the fourth and final quarter.

In fact, 10 of those 14 came in the final 2:07 minutes as part of the Bucks' 19-8 run.

Playing 43 minutes, Middleton also recorded six rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Devin Booker's epic bounce-back game

How about that for a comeback game?

After a rough 10-point outing in Game 3, Booker rebounded with a huge 42-point game. That tally took him past Rick Barry's 521 points - the most by an NBA player in their debut postseason.

Despite battling foul trouble and playing just 16 minutes in the second half, Booker scored 22 of his 40 after halftime. Of which, he scored 18 in the third quarter.

It's not just the volume but also the efficiency as the 6'5 shooting guard had the best shooting night of his postseason career, making 12 of his 19 field goal attempts.

His scoring was key to the Suns staying ahead as long as they did as kept answering shot for shot, keeping the Bucks at bay in the third quarter. That probably explains why he is the only Suns starter with a non-negative plus-minus for the game.

Uncharacteristic Chris Paul game

Given the high standard he has set for himself, especially after the Game 1 performance, Chris Paul's play since has been sub-par.

In this one, he finished with 10 points and seven assists in 37 minutes but it came on 5-of-13 shooting while committing five of the team's 17 turnovers. Since his 32-point scintillating Game 1, his offensive production has steadily declined.

Giannis Antetokounmpo strengthens Finals MVP case

While Middleton might take the spotlight after Game 4, the Greek Freak wasn't far behind in terms of play.

MORE: Giannis' block delivers signature Finals moment

As mentioned earlier, he stuffed the stat sheet but it's simply stunning how he has been putting up these monster numbers, just over a week after hyperextending his left knee.

Although, he didn't dominate with his scoring in this game, he made an impact with his playmaking as he finished just two assists shy of his first career triple-double in the NBA Finals.

3-point struggles for both teams

Although the Suns outshot the Bucks from the field (51.3% > 40.2), it was a rough night for both teams from beyond the arc.

Both teams combined for 14 3-pointers on a combined 52 attempts (33.3%).

What's next?

The series now shifts back to Phoenix as a best-of-3. Once again, there will be two days off, as Game 5 tips-off on Saturday, Jul. 17 at 9:00 p.m ET.

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