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Phoenix Suns vs. Milwaukee Bucks – NBA Finals Game 4 Preview, Odds, & Prediction

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The Phoenix Suns will try to bounce back and take a commanding 3-1 series lead versus the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 4 of the NBA Finals at Fiserv Forum on Wednesday night.

After winning the first two games, Devin Booker and company couldn’t quite keep up with the Bucks in Game 3. Milwaukee will try to even up the series before traveling back to Talking Stick Resort Arena for Game 5 on Saturday. The Bucks are 8-1 in nine home games during the postseason while Phoenix has won six of its nine road playoff contests.

With the series guaranteed to go back to Phoenix, can the Bucks even up the NBA Finals at two games apiece with a win on Wednesday evening?

NBA Finals Game 4 Betting Preview 

The Bucks enter Game 4 favored by 4.5 points. Bovada sportsbook has set Milwaukee as -200 money line favorites while the Suns offer bettors a little more value with +170 money line odds. Game 4 is projected for 220.5 points.

Booker, Ayton Seek Bounce-Back Performances in Game 4

The Suns turned in a lackluster effort on Sunday, coming up short 120-100 on the road in Milwaukee in Game 3. Phoenix had no answer for Milwaukee’s energy and was outscored 35-17 in a decisive second quarter. Veteran point guard Chris Paul finished with 19 points and nine assists to lead the team in both categories while DeAndre Ayton and Jae Crowder chipped in 18 points apiece in the loss.

Booker will try to use his short memory to overcome a pedestrian 10-point performance in Game 3. The 24-year-old scored 27 and 31 points in Games 1 and 2, respectively, but knocked down just 3 of his 14 shots in Sunday’s loss. In spite of the off-night, Suns’ fans have plenty of reasons to be optimistic on Wednesday, as Booker has developed a penchant for coming back strong in 2021. The Suns’ guard shot less than 35 percent from the field 11 times this season. In the games that followed, Phoenix finished with a 9-2 record and the Suns’ star averaged 23.8 points per game on 44.3 percent shooting in those matchups. In his first career postseason appearance, Booker is averaging 26.3 points per game through 19 contests.

Just two wins away from the franchise’s first NBA Championship, the Suns will try to clamp down on the defensive end after giving up a postseason-worst 120 points in Game 3. Per dunksandthrees.com, Phoenix finished the regular season ranked ninth in the NBA in adjusted defensive efficiency with a 111.2 rating. Anchored by Ayton, the Suns have also been the third-best defensive team during the NBA Playoffs on a per-possession basis. 

Antetokounmpo Joins Elite Company Following Game 3 Win

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 41 points and hauled in 13 rebounds as Milwaukee cruised to a 120-100 victory in Game 3. Antetokounmpo shot 14-for-23 from the field and attempted 17 free throws (13-for-17) on the night, one more than the entire Suns’ team. Jrue Holiday bounced back with 21 points and nine assists while Khris Middleton added 18 points in the win.

With the Suns aiming to wall off the rim, Antetokounmpo was more assertive on the offensive end in Game 3. Phoenix used multiple defenders in an attempt to stop the Greek Freak but to no avail, as Antetokounmpo relentlessly bullied his way to the rim and opened up opportunities for shooters on the outside. The Bucks shot 14-of-36 from 3-point range (38.9 percent) as a team with Holiday and Middleton combining for eight made 3-pointers.

On defense, the Bucks closed the regular season with an adjusted defensive efficiency rating of 111.8, good for 10th in the NBA. According to ESPN Stats and Information, the Bucks have found some success by matching up Holiday and Antetokounmpo against Booker on the defensive end of the floor. Booker shot a combined 0-for-4 when guarded by the Bucks’ two first-team All-NBA defenders in Game 3. For the series, Booker is 2-for-11 against Holiday and 1-for-6 with Antetokounmpo guarding him. 

NBA Betting Trends

Trends can be valuable information for bettors looking to improve their NBA betting strategy.

Below is a shortlist of trends for Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

Milwaukee

  • Bucks are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
  • Bucks are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
  • Bucks are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 home games.

Phoenix

  • Suns are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games playing on 2 days rest.

NBA Finals Betting Predictions

Below, you can find some NBA betting predictions for Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

NBA Finals Game 4 Spread Prediction:

This isn’t an unfamiliar position for the Bucks, who dropped back-to-back games during the Eastern Conference Semifinals versus the Brooklyn Nets. Milwaukee went on to win that series in seven games by winning Games 3 and 4 at home, where it has been tough to beat during the NBA Playoffs. Phoenix hasn’t had an answer for Antetokounmpo, who has scored at least 40 points in back-to-back contests. The Bucks have also used big men Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis to effectively space the floor on offense, taking Suns’ center DeAndre Ayton out of his comfort zone on the defensive end. Look for Milwaukee to exploit Ayton along the perimeter and take the Bucks to cover the spread at home in Game 4.

NBA Finals Game 4 Money Line Prediction: 

Milwaukee has won eight of its nine postseason contests at the Fiserv Forum while the Suns are 6-3 in nine road contests during the NBA Playoffs. The Suns provide better value for money line bettors in Game 3 but we’re still leaning towards the home team in this spot. The Bucks seem to have shaken off their woes from Games 1 and 2. With Antetokounmpo controlling the paint on both ends of the floor and Milwaukee heating up from long range, look for the Bucks to even up the series with a win at home on Wednesday night. 

NBA Finals Game 4 Total Prediction:

With Ayton in foul trouble in Game 3, the Suns’ defense was unable to keep the Bucks’ out of the paint and off of the scoreboard. However, unless you’re expecting Ayton to be relegated to the sidelines once again, it’s hard to see this turning into a high-scoring affair. All three contests have combined for at least 220 points but the Suns’ defense was more vulnerable due to foul trouble in Game 3. If Ayton can stay on the floor, Milwaukee should have a much tougher time getting to the rim in Game 4, which bodes well for a low-scoring affair here. Take Game 4 of the NBA Finals to stay under the projected total on Wednesday evening.

NBA Finals Game 4 Player Props:

With Bet365 and other sportsbooks offering healthy odds for one of the league’s premier triple-double threats, there should be some value on this player prop in Game 4. The Greek Freak was well on his way to a triple-double in Game 3, racking up four assists in the first quarter. However, he was more aggressive in looking for his own shots as the game progressed, finishing with just six assists in the blowout win. With Phoenix likely to do a better job of walling off the paint in Game 4, Antetokounmpo will have to rely on his teammates even more on Wednesday.  Take Antetokounmpo to record a triple-double in Game 4 at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee.

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Grizzlies trade Jonas Valanciunas to Pelicans for Eric Bledsoe, Steven Adams

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According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Andrew Lopez, the New Orleans Pelicans are shipping guard Eric Bledsoe, center Steven Adams, the Nos. 10 and 40 picks of the 2021 NBA Draft, and two future first-round picks to the Memphis Grizzlies for center Jonas Valanciunas and the Nos. 17 and 51 picks of this week’s upcoming draft. So, the Pelicans are giving up the Lakers’ 2022 first-round pick. Valanciunas, the 29-year-old veteran center, averaged 17.1 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game in 62 games played throughout the 2020-21 season. He also shot 59 percent from the field. The seven-foot Lithuanian also ranks fourth overall in true shooting percentage (.616) among active players. On July 11, 2019, Valanciunas signed a three-year, $45 million contract with the Grizzlies. He is set to earn $4 million next season.

Additionally, in 71 games played last season, Bledsoe averaged 12.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 3.8 assists. The six-foot-one guard also shot 42.1 percent from the field in the 2020-21 season. On November 23, 2020, as part of a four-team trade, Bledsoe and Adams were traded to the Pelicans from the Oklahoma City Thunder, along with two future first-round picks and the right to swap two additional first-round picks. Last season, in 71 games played, Bledsoe averaged 12.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 3.8 assists. His field goal percentage was 42.1 percent as well. The 11-year veteran is set to earn $18,125,000 in the 2021-22 season. Before he was traded to New Orleans, on March 4, 2019, the guard signed a four-year, $70 million extension. He earned his first All-Defensive second-team selection in the 2019-20 season.

Moreover, in 58 games played last season, Adams averaged 7.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game. The six-foot-eleven center ranks fifth among active players for effective field goal shooting percentage (.591). The eight-year veteran also ranks third in offensive rebounding percentage, with an active statistic of 14 percent. On November 23, 2020, the same day Adams was traded to the Pelicans, he signed a two-year, $35 million extension. For next season, he is projected to earn $17,073,171. To add to this trade news, the Grizzlies and Pelicans are swapping second-round picks in this year’s draft, too. Referencing NBA.com’s “Consensus Mock Draft” article, with the No. 10 pick of the draft, the Pelicans were originally expected to draft either Josh Giddey or Davion Mitchell at this number. However, plans have now changed.

From ESPN’s Bobby Marks, the trade will not be finalized until August 6th, and this is because of the annual salaries of these said players. Free agency will begin on August 2, 6:00 p.m. (EST). Furthermore, per Spotrac’s 2021-22 NBA salary cap table, next season’s luxury tax threshold is $136,606,000. The team’s current available luxury tax space is $22,555,195. The Pelicans and Grizzlies have a salary cap maximum of $112,414,000. Brandon Ingram, Bledsoe, and Adams had a combined cap percentage of 39.2 percent. Considering that Bledsoe and Adams are traded away, this will clear up $35,198,171 of dead cap space.

Yesterday, CBS Sports reported the news pertaining to Lonzo Ball’s desire to remain in New Orleans. With extra cap space, the team is expected to re-sign the 23-year-old guard. Likewise, for the Grizzlies, the teams has a luxury tax space of $37,019,952. Their current cap space is $8,321,229. As stated before, the transactions have not yet been finalized. The Grizzlies’ outgoing cap is now $14 million, but from the contracts of Adams and Bledsoe, they are bringing in $35,198,171.

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NBA Trade Rumors: Jazz considering trade offers for Bojan Bogdanovic, Joe Ingles, Royce O’Neale, and No. 30 pick of the 2021 NBA Draft

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Per one interesting announcement from Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, the Utah Jazz are open to trading forward Bojan Bogdanovic, forward-guard Joe Ingles, small forward Royce O’Neale, and the No. 30 pick of the 2021 NBA Draft. Fischer stated, “The Utah Jazz are known to be one of the few teams actually searching to move playoff-tested talent. Retaining Mike Conley is an offseason priority, sources said, and the Jazz have held numerous discussions with teams around the league about offloading salary to create for Conley in free agency.” Point guard Mike Conley is set to become a free agent this offseason. Though, general manager Justin Zanik will aim to re-sign the 33-year-old guard in the coming weeks. Conley earned $34.5 million in the 2020-21 season.

“League personnel most often mention Joe Ingles as the Jazz wing to watch, and Bojan Bogdanovic and Royce O’Neale are also considered available for trade as Utah narrows its focus towards building a contender around Donovan Mitchel. The Jazz are also open to discuss trading their No. 30 pick, sources said.” In the 2020-21 season, in 72 games played, Bogdanovic averaged 17 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game. On May 1, 2021, in the team’s 106-102 victory over the Toronto Raptors, the six-foot-seven Croatian scored a season-high 34 points, shooting 12-for-22, and he finished his performance with four rebounds and four assists as well. On July 7, 2019, he signed a four-year, $73 million contract with the Jazz.

In 67 games played last season, Ingles averaged 12.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game. The six-foot-eight forward is set to earn $14 million in the 2021-22 season. Plus, among the mentioned players, Royce O’Neale has contributed the least. In 71 games played last season, he averaged seven points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.5 assists. On January 19, 2020, the forward signed a four-year, $36 million extension with the team. He will earn $8.6 million next season. According to The Athletic, in the team’s seventh workout for draft prospects, they viewed Quentin Grimes, David Duke, Matt Mitchell, and a few other players. In the first round, if the team chooses not to draft any of the players they are holding workouts for, the organization will trade the No. 30 pick.

Just for a reminder, retrieved from Spotrac, the 2021-22 NBA luxury tax threshold is $136,606,000. Utah’s active roster cap is $133,284,695, the maximum cap is $112,414,000, and the current cap space is $72,990,215. Furthermore, center Rudy Gobert currently has the highest guaranteed contract on the team. On December 20, 2020, Gobert signed a five-year, $205 million extension with the organization. Gobert is set to earn $35.3 million in the coming season, whereas Donovan Mitchell will earn $28.1 million. Gobert and Mitchell combined consume 47.6 percent of the team’s salary cap. For the upcoming 2021-22 season, the Jazz have a guaranteed total of $129,719,453. Based on the team’s future outlook, the Jazz will have to make a trade or two in order to retain their star players. This should go without saying.

NBA Analysis Network reported a few days ago that a potential Jazz-Knicks trade target is Bojan Bogdanovic. Greg Patuto proposed the Knicks receiving Bogdanovic, while the Jazz would receive Kevin Knox II, and the Nos. 19 and No. 32 picks of the 2021 NBA Draft. Now, this could still happen at some point during this draft week, but then again, sports bettors and fans alike understand that these news reports could be just rumors. The most intelligent, unforthcoming general managers know not to leave bread crumb trails for the media, especially leading into the offseason. They will do everything necessary to protect their foolproof plans.

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Raptors, Pacers, Timberwolves, Kings, and Cavaliers among teams showing interest in Ben Simmons

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According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, five teams have shown interest in pursuing Ben Simmons from the Philadelphia 76ers. Fischer reported, “Cleveland, Indiana, Minnesota, Sacramento, and Toronto all showed interest in acquiring the runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year.” Furthermore, the teams are wanting Simmons to change position from point guard to forward. “Multiple executives from those teams, when contacted by Bleacher Report, mentioned their excitement at incorporating Simmons as a play-making forward—not at the point guard position he’s played in Philadelphia.” The six-foot-eleven guard averaged 14.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 6.9 assists in the 2020-21 NBA season. This might sound fine for a young rookie, but as a five-year player, these aforementioned statistics were career lows.

However, the 25-year-old also earned his third NBA All-Star selection and second All-Defensive first-team selection last season. After a less than mediocre performance in his third postseason of his NBA career, the majority of 76ers’ fans would agree that it’s now time for Simmons to have a change in scenery. With a regular season record of 49-23 (.681), the No. 1 ranked 76ers in the Eastern Conference entered the conference semifinals as favorites over the Atlanta Hawks. Leading into this series, some NBA analysts were predicting Philadelphia to prevail four games to two. The 2016 first overall pick was expected to limit Trae Young in scoring and rally his team from point deficits, but none of this ever manifested.

Pertaining to postseason averages, Simmons had a playoff series-low of 9.9 points and 6.3 rebounds per game in the conference semifinals against the Hawks. This lackluster showing proved to be a more significant downfall for the superstar, considering Simmons had only five points, eight rebounds, and 13 assists in Game 7 versus the Hawks. In the 2019-20 season, he averaged 2.1 steals per game, leading all other players in the league. Moreover, Simmons currently ranks sixth in the NBA for active player triple-doubles (32). With a total of 32 career triple-doubles, he ranks 13th on the all-time list, tied with Clippers’ guard Rajon Rondo.

On July 16, 2019, Simmons signed a five-year, $169.65 million contract extension with the 76ers. He is set to earn $30.5 million in the 2021-22 season. Among these teams interested in Simmons, Cavs’ Kevin Love has the fourth largest contract guarantee of $91.4 million. Love is due to earn $31.3 million next season, and the 13-year veteran’s contract consumes 26 percent of the team’s salary cap. He could be traded this offseason. Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns has a contract guarantee of $130.8 million. The 25-year-old Wolves center will earn $31.6 million in the upcoming season.

Plus, Kings’ 2017 first-round pick De’Aaron Fox has a guaranteed contract of $171.1 million. Fox will earn $28.1 million next season. To add to that, Raptors’ Pascal Siakim has a contract guarantee of $131.4 million. Not to mention, reported by Yahoo Sports via trade rumors yesterday, the Golden State Warriors are a potential trade partner for Toronto. The Warriors could make a move on Siakim, clearing up space on the Raptors for Simmons. Per Spotrac, the 2021-22 season cap maximum is $112,414,000. In the coming weeks, one of these said five teams might make a substantial trade offer to the 76ers’ organization that they cannot refuse.

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