UPDATED on Wednesday, 7/14/21, at 12:24 p.m. Eastern.
LAS VEGAS — Milwaukee (59-33 straight up, 43-49 against the spread) trails Phoenix 2-1 in the NBA Finals that’ll resume Wednesday for Game 4 at Fiserv Forum.
In a 2-0 hole going into Sunday night’s Game 3, Mike Budenholzer’s team fell behind by three (28-25) at the end of the first quarter. Deandre Ayton scored 12 points in the opening stanza to stake the Suns with the lead.
The Bucks dominated the second stanza, though, outscoring the Suns 35-17 to lead by 15 at the break. Foul trouble for Ayton aided Milwaukee’s second-quarter surge.
Phoenix (65-26 SU, 55-34-2 ATS) didn’t fold, though, cutting the deficit to six twice on buckets from Cam Johnson. Then Johnson drained a 3-ball to pull his club to within four at 74-70.
But it was all Milwaukee the rest of the way, as it outscored the Suns 46-30 to win in blowout fashion by a 120-100 count. The 220 combined points slithered ‘under’ the 220.5-point total. Some gamblers may have pushed on the total, as a few shops closed at 220 points.
The ‘over’ was a winner in Games 1 and 2. The combined scores in the series have been 223, 226 and 220 points. The ‘over’ had cashed in four consecutive games for the Bucks until Sunday’s Game 3.
Giannis Antetokounmpo continued his stellar play in the Final with a 41-point effort. The two-time NBA MVP also had 13 rebounds, one steal and six assists compared to merely one turnover. ‘The Greek Freak’ hit 14-of-23 field-goal attempts and buried 13-of-17 from the charity stripe.
Milwaukee veteran point guard Jrue Holiday bounced back from poor performances in Games 1 and 2 at Phoenix to score 21 points and hand out nine assists. Holiday also had five rebounds, one steal and one blocked shot. He drilled 8-of-14 FGAs and 5-of-10 launches from downtown.
Khris Middleton finished with 18 points, seven boards, six assists and one steal, while Bobby Portis added 11 points and eight rebounds in only 18 minutes of action off the bench.
Ayton had 18 points, nine rebounds and two steals in the losing effort, but he was limited to 24 minutes of playing time due to foul trouble. Ayton made 8-of-11 FGAs.
Chris Paul scored a team-best 19 points and dished out nine assists, but he had four turnovers after coughing up six turnovers in Game 2. Devin Booker couldn’t buy a bucket, shooting at a dismal 3-of-14 clip from the field. He was limited to 10 points, six rebounds and two assists.
Jae Crowder had 18 points and six boards. Johnson finished with 14 points and five rebounds.
As of late Monday afternoon, most betting shops had the Bucks installed as four-point home favorites for Wednesday’s Game 4. The total was 220 or 220.5 points, while the Suns were +160 on the money line.
UPDATE: As of early Wednesday afternoon, most books had moved the Bucks up to -4.5 with the total at 220.5 or 221. BetMGM had Milwaukee up to -5. The Suns were +165 or +170 on the money line.
Phoenix is 30-15 SU and 25-18-2 ATS in 45 road assignments. The Bucks are 34-11 SU and 24-21 ATS in 45 home games.
FanDuel has the Suns as -270 favorites for the updated series price, with Milwaukee as a +200 underdog. Also, bettors can lay -1.5 games on Phoenix to earn a +110 return, while the Bucks are +1.5 games at a -134 price.
Tip-off on Wednesday is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. Eastern on ABC.