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Phoenix Suns vs. Milwaukee Bucks – NBA Finals Game 6 Preview, Odds, & Series Recap

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In the 2021 NBA Finals, the Phoenix Suns (55-36-2 ATS) have lost three consecutive games to the Milwaukee Bucks (45-49 ATS). Up till Game 4, the Suns had not lost back-to-back games in the postseason. Now, the total has gone over in five of the Suns’ previous seven games. The total has also gone over in nine of Milwaukee’s past eleven games played against Western Conference opponents. Additionally, the Bucks are 57-26 as selected favorites and 4-7 as underdogs, whereas the Suns are 53-20 as favorites and 12-8 as underdogs. In Game 5, the Bucks won the first road game in the series for either team. Referencing StatMuse, the Bucks are 9-1 at home in the playoffs this season. The total was set at 220 in the fifth game of this series, and the total went over +22 (242).

Per Bovada and Odds Shark, oddsmakers are projecting the Bucks to win Game 5, for the team to cover the spread, and for the total to go over 222. At 63 percent, the spread consensus currently favors the Phoenix Suns. Leading into Tuesday night’s game, this could work in their favor, considering it is an elimination game for the road team. Moreover, the Suns have never won an NBA title. Their last finals series loss was back in the 1992-93 season. They lost the series four games to two versus Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. To add to that fact, the Bucks have not won another championship since the 1971 NBA Finals. They swept the Washington Bullets to win their first title.

Antetokounmpo, Middleton dominate the floor in their first finals road victory

Two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo closed out his Game 5 performance with 32 points, nine rebounds, and six assists. Per Basketball-Reference, the Greek Freak has scored a total of 584 points in the 2021 playoffs. He has a total of 40 playoff double-doubles in his NBA playing career. While he’s not yet in the top 20 all-time for postseason double-doubles, he is 29 shy from tying Dave Cowens (69).

In the post-game press conference, after being asked about his passion for the game and overall effort, Giannis said to the media, “I kind of try to focus on the moment, in the present. That’s humility, that’s being humble. That’s not setting no expectation. That’s going out there, enjoying the game, competing at a high level.” It should go without saying that his love and enthusiasm for the game has shown itself on numerous occasions in this particular series.

 

Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton also had 29 points, seven rebounds, and five assists, based on a team-high of 44 minutes played in Game 5. Moreover, the Bucks shot 50-for-87 (57.5 percent) from the field, while the Suns shot 48-for-87 (55.2 percent) on their home court. Putting aside the field goal percentage comparison, if one skimmed through the Game 5 team statistics sheet, he or she would be under the impression that Phoenix won.

However, at 18.4 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter with a 120-119 Bucks’ lead, Jrue Holiday knocked the ball away from the Suns’ Devin Booker. Then, Antetokounmpo sealed the deal at the 13.5 seconds mark, completing an alley-oop dunk to bring the score to 122-119. This one costly turnover for Phoenix lost them the game.

Phoenix surrenders two-game series lead, 16-point lead in Game 5

As if yielding a two-game series lead in the NBA Finals was not enough to cause some Phoenix fans to boo their players, the Suns also blew a 16-point lead in the first half of Game 5’s loss. Not to mention, they squandered a six-point lead in the fourth quarter as well. Needless to say, the Suns are struggling to close out their finals performances with more energy, aggression, and consistency.

The Suns shot 10-for-11 (90.9 percent) at the free throw line, so they have to play better defensively. Giannis is running right through them. Furthermore, Devin Booker is carrying this team at the moment. He is averaging 30 points, 3.6 total rebounds, and 3.8 steals per finals game in this series. In the Suns’ 123-119 defeat in Game 5, Booker scored 40 points and Deandre Ayton ended his night with 10 rebounds.

 

In an average of 36 minutes played throughout the course of this series, Chris Paul is averaging 21 points, 2.8 total rebounds, and 8.8 assists. Thus far, Paul is certainly assisting other players to bring the ball to the basket, but he is costing his team with turnovers, too. Paul is responsible for 18 turnovers in the NBA Finals, leading all other players on both teams. He has to limit his turnovers in Game 6 or Bucks’ fans will have several reasons to start celebrating before tomorrow’s game even begins.

According to multiple die-hard NBA fans and basketball experts, they would be the first to tell casual viewers without a second’s hesitation that Paul’s performance on the grandest stage has been nothing short of disappointing. After Game 5’s loss, Devin Booker told the media, “We came out and did what we intended to do, get off to a great start, and we let it go.” Evident by their franchise history, the Suns are notorious for falling apart in these finals games. Game 6 will be their do-or-die situation.

Game 6 NBA Finals Betting Trends

Phoenix Suns: 

  • The Suns are 12-6 ATS in their last 18 games played.
  • The total has gone over in five of the Suns’ previous seven games.
  • The Suns are 13-5 SU in their past 18 games.
  • The Suns are also 8-4 ATS in their previous 12 games played.

Milwaukee Bucks:

  • The Bucks are 5-2 ATS in their past seven games played.
  • The total has gone over in five of the Bucks’ last seven games.
  • The Bucks are 5-2 SU in their previous seven games.
  • The Bucks are 17-1 SU in their past 18 games played at home.

 

Phoenix Suns vs. Milwaukee Bucks – Game 6 NBA Finals Odds

Date: Tuesday, July 20, 2021 at 9:00 p.m. (EST)

Location: Fiserv Forum – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Best Phoenix Suns Spread: +5 (-109)

Best Milwaukee Bucks Spread: -5 (-105)

Over/Under: 222

Phoenix Stats: 30-17 ATS Home, 25-19-2 ATS Away, 28-19 O/U Home, and 24-21-1 O/U Away

Milwaukee Stats: 25-21 ATS Home, 20-28 ATS Away, 25-20-1 O/U Home, and 25-22-1 O/U Away

Best Phoenix Moneyline: +300

Best Milwaukee Moneyline: -197

 

  • All Table odds above and below are retrieved from Bovada. 

 

 

NBA Finals Game 6 – Best Player Prop Bets

Leading into Game 6 of the 2021 NBA Finals, there are few notable player prop bets. Devin Booker is expected to go over 30.5 points (-115). Plus, Jrue Holiday could earn over 8.5 assists (+104). How about Khris Middleton earning over 25.5 points (-120) and Giannis Antetokounmpo having a double-double (-600) Tuesday night? Booker is averaging 30 points per game in this series. In Game 1, he scored 27 points. In Game 2, he had 31 points.

Nonetheless, in Game 3, Booker scored only 10 points. This one game should be something to keep in mind before placing a bet. In addition to the numbers listed above, he scored a whopping 42 points in Game 4. And, of course we cannot forget about his 40-point performance this past Saturday night in Game 5.

As for Khris Middleton, he finished with 29 points in Game 1 of this series. Middleton then proceeded to score 11 points in Game 2 and 18 points in Game 3. He is averaging 25.4 points in this NBA Finals, so taking a bet on Khris earning more than 25.5 points is risky. Most of all, it could be an unnecessary risk. While he did score a playoff career-high of 40 points in Game 4, it is difficult for Khris to take control of the floor each game. He was on the court for 43 minutes, too.

In Game 5, Middleton scored 29 points, and this was based on 44 minutes played. Either way, it is still possible for his point total to go over 25.5 points in Game 6. In addition to the total points bet, Jrue Holiday is averaging 9 assists per game in this series. Bettors should keep a close eye on him. The Greek Freak is projected to earn another playoff double-double. Giannis could earn his 41st playoff career double-double in Game 6.

 

 

James is a Basketball Insider contributor. He earned his bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. He enjoys watching sports and helping gamblers to win money.

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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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