NBA Finals: Free NBA Picks Today for Wednesday, July 14th, 2021

NBA Finals: Free NBA Picks Today for Wednesday, July 14th, 2021
Tue 13th July 2021

While the Phoenix Suns still hold a 2-1 series lead, the Milwaukee Bucks took all momentum with their 20 point Game 3 win. Our NBA picks breaks down tonight’s matchup, looking at all of the different angles, including the adjustments that have been made and need to be made still.

Read on below as our NBA picks lets you know if the Bucks can tie it up or if the Suns will take a commanding 3-1 series lead in the 2021 NBA Finals.

Phoenix Suns @ Milwaukee Bucks (Game 4) – 9pm EDT

The Milwaukee Bucks have life in the series. A comprehensive 120-100 victory on Sunday has now swung momentum in Milwaukee’s favor with the Phoenix Suns finding themselves on the back foot. Despite still holding a 2-1 series lead, it was the way that Phoenix lost that was alarming, giving up big runs and still having no answer for Giannis Antetokounmpo.

There were three game defining runs in Game 3, two for Milwaukee and one for Phoenix. To close out the first half, Milwaukee, who were trailing by one with 6:45 left on the clock, went on a 23-7 run, with Giannis scoring nine of them, to take a 60-45 lead into halftime. 

Phoenix obviously had to respond, breaking even for the first four minutes of the third before a Cameron Johnson poster dunk sparked a 14-5 run. This allowed the Suns to cut the lead to just four points with five minutes remaining in the third quarter, but they may have spent all their tickets. With the lead at just four, Jrue Holiday hit back-to-back threes, which started a 24-6 run to end the frame, allowing Milwaukee’s lead to balloon to 22 heading into the last and that was all she wrote. 

Holiday, who averaged 13.5 points on 31.4% shooting in the first two games, had nine points and an assist in the third quarter run to put the game on ice, finishing with 21 points, nine assists and five rebounds for the game. Holiday was on fire, shooting 5-10 from deep and 8-14 from the field for the game in a massive turn-around performance that enabled the Bucks to get their first win.

Khris Middleton still struggled to score at his usual rate but had a modest performance of 18 points, seven boards and six assists. You just feel that he is due for a massive scoring game, but he hasn’t been able to do so while Giannis is scoring at a high rate as well, so far. The big difference maker for the Bucks is Bobby Portis. The back-up center brings toughness and energy, sparking the Milwaukee crowd with his play, finishing with 11 points and eight boards in just 18 minutes of action. 

While Milwaukee’s role players stepped up to the plate in Game 3, the story of the game is the Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Breaking history with his performance on Sunday, Giannis became the sixth player in NBA Finals history to record consecutive 40 point games and just the second player to record consecutive 40 point, 10 rebound games in the NBA Finals, with Shaquille O’Neal being the other. Giannis finished with 41 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. 

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While those numbers are impressive, it is how he got them which was even more impressive. He got Deandre Ayton in foul trouble, forcing himself into a mismatch as Phoenix have no other appropriate matchup for him. This allowed the 2x MVP to get down low and dominate the interior, with all 14 of his field goal makes coming from within five feet. He also turned things around from the free throw line, shooting 13-17 (76.5%), in what was a career performance from the line for him.

Phoenix hasn’t had a clear answer on how to guard Giannis throughout the series, evidenced by his 34.3 point average. One answer they may have though, is how to get Devin Booker back in a groove. After scoring 27 and 31 points in Games 1 and 2 respectively, Booker was a non-factor in Game 3, finishing with a postseason low 10 points on 3-14 shooting. He will need to get back to his usual self, and quickly, if the Suns are to have any chance of winning this series, despite still having home court advantage.

Chris Paul continues to be consistent offensively, putting up game highs of 19 points and nine assists in Game Three, but there is some area for concern. After averaging just 1.6 turnovers per game throughout the postseason, following Game 1, Paul has had 10 turnovers over the last two games, not handling the strength and pressure that Holiday provides on every possession. 

While Paul is struggling against Holiday, Ayton is struggling against Giannis and the whistle. Ayton had 12 points and three rebounds in the first quarter alone, but foul trouble restricted him to just 24 minutes for the game. This meant that he only saw the court for another 16 minutes following the first, finishing with 18 points and nine rebounds for the game. Keeping Ayton on the floor has to be a priority for the Suns, as they are +20 in the 19 minutes that Ayton plays and Giannis doesn’t, but -21 in the 27 minutes that Ayton is off while Giannis is on. 

Milwaukee were clearly the better team in Game 3 and deserved to win, and probably by more as well, but this seems more of an aberration. They made some changes in terms of structures and schemes, now it is Monty Williams’ turn for Phoenix. Can he come up with something that can turn things back in their favor? For starters, the Suns’ backcourt needs to be more aggressive and accurate. When comparing to their averages from Games 1 and 2, the Paul/Booker combination had 27.5 less points, shot 10% worse from the field and 29% worse from deep in Game 3. 

Against both the Lakers and Clippers, both Booker and the Suns had an average Game 3 but bounced back to score well and claim Game 4, respectively. Phoenix is 3-1 following a loss in the postseason, having a point differential of +25 in those four games. While Milwaukee showed some real positive signs in Game 3, we believe Phoenix will respond in Game 4 and head back home with a 3-1 series lead. 

NBA Pick – Phoenix Suns (+152)
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Total Points Pick – Unlock Premium Picks

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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel

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Tim is a keen follower of all American sports, in particular the NBA and NFL. He has followed both sports for over a decade and would happily sit down and watch every game, regardless of who is playing! No matter the sport, whether it be NFL and NBA or even MLB, NHL, UFC and all sports, Tim covers it from every angle, staying in the loop to bring you the most up-to-date information and the best picks and predictions on the market.