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Milwaukee vs. Brooklyn Game 4: Bucks Even Up Series, 107-96

The Bucks head back to Brooklyn with the series tied at two apiece

NBA: Playoffs-Brooklyn Nets at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Folks, this series is all tied up. The Milwaukee Bucks have secured their second win of this series, making it 2-2 going back to Brooklyn.

For an afternoon game, the 100% capacity crowd of Fiserv Forum was bringing it to the max. It also created an entertaining start, as both teams were showing more offensive firepower than they did in Game 3. After one period of play, the Nets would hold a slim 26-23 advantage going into the second.

With Kevin Durant on the bench, the Nets were able to embark on an 8-0 run to provide some separation. However, the Bucks were quick to answer, extending a run of their own to re-capture the lead and wipe out an 11-point deficit. Kyrie Irving would also go down in the second quarter with an apparent ankle injury. Going into intermission, the Bucks groomed a 53-48 advantage.

As Kyrie Irving sat out the remainder of the game with an ankle sprain, the Bucks were able to pad some space between them and Brooklyn. They’d hold a double-digit advantage throughout the quarter, and with a Khris Middleton three to close out the quarter, they headed into the fourth owning an 81-69 lead.

Milwaukee walked into the fourth quarter with a double-digit advantage, and they’d hold that for the majority of the remainder of the game. Brooklyn would keep Kevin Durant out on the floor until around the seven minute mark. At that point, Steve Nash would wave the white towel, and the Bucks officially evened the series with a convincing 107-96 win.

Giannis Antetokounmpo would lead all scorers with 34 points. He’d accumulate that on 14-of-26 shooting. Khris Middleton was the next high scorer for the Bucks with 15 points on the afternoon.

For Brooklyn, Kevin Durant led the way with 9-of-25 counting for 28 points.

What Did We Learn?

Once again, PJ Tucker’s importance to this team was epitomized. In Game 3, we saw the type of impact he could make on the game when not scoring. However, today, he was able to accumulate 13 points on a well-earned 5-of-8 shooting, including several 3-pointers. Those were momentous 3-pointers as well, as they helped swing the pendulum in Milwaukee’s favor. The defense that Tucker exhibited on Durant was also quite impactful, as Durant wouldn’t be able to get much going until later on in the afternoon, at a time where the Bucks already had control. When it was all said and done, Tucker held KD to just nine points and 25 percent from the floor when he was his primary defender. In his postgame availability, Pat Connaughton mentioned how the intensity and physicality that Tucker brings is contagious. Just a massive effort from Tucker today.

Three Observations

Pat Connaughton was all over the place.

When you initially look at the box score and see eight points from Pat Connaughton, you may shrug your shoulders and say, “meh.” However, the effort he put on today was absolutely insurmountable. He was always in the wings, tipping passes, being feisty on defense, and doing a fantastic job at being an all-around nuisance. Despite not reaching double-digit points on the afternoon, Connaughton still registered a +23 on the afternoon. Oh yeah, he also received this shiner, which did not result in a foul:

It was another effective performance from Khris Middleton.

It’s no fact that there’s a correlation between the fact that the Bucks have won the two games where Khris Middleton has shown up. After being the top scorer in Game 3, he put forth 19 points this afternoon. While it wasn’t his top scoring performance, those shots were still huge, and some were quite timely. When the Bucks have Khris Middleton to rely on to hit some big shots, that typically results in good things. We all know how good of a shooter he is and the fact that he has come alive in these past two outings bodes well for the Bucks going into Game 5.

Milwaukee was able to move the ball, and it helped tie this series up.

One of the main things that prevented the Bucks from being themselves in the opening two games was the stagnant offensive play that they showed. It allowed the Nets, a team that isn’t the best defensively, look like the No. 1 defensive rated team in the league. However, in the last two games, Milwaukee’s offense has been more crisp with more passing, which has resulted in some fantastic shooting opportunities. Today, they racked up 27 assists. The Bucks will look to continue the momentum in Game 5 in Brooklyn.

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • In the first half of this one, there was a challenge made by Mike Budenholzer on a Giannis drive. It resulted in the call being overturned, and the basket counted for Giannis and provided an And-1 opportunity. Just a massive sequence events in terms of momentum.
  • Brook Lopez’s interior defense was incredible yet again for the Bucks. It really seems that nobody can get past him, as whenever a Net drives to the lane, he’s always there to greet them. He’s been massive in this series and will look to continue his strong play in Game 5 in Brooklyn.
  • Like Pat Connaughton, it was great to see Bryn Forbes connect on some shots. It wasn’t his most glamorous performance (ten points on 2-of-6 shooting), but you could tell how big it was for Forbes to see the ball go through the hoop. We all know the importance he had in the Miami series. If he can replicate that play vs. Brooklyn, it will be absolutely massive for the Bucks.
  • I still can’t get over this Jrue nutmeg on the Giannis slam:
  • With Pat Connaughton sidelined after receiving a shiner on the left eye, Elijah Bryant received some run rather than Jeff Teague. You could tell he was a little nervous at times, but for the most part, he held his own relatively well.
  • It’s going to be really interesting watching the injury statuses of both Kyrie Irving and James Harden moving forward. If one of them is unable to play, does the other try taking one for the team and play despite not being at 100 percent? It’s definitely going to be a big storyline in the coming days, and will surely have an impact on the series with whatever happens.