MILWAUKEE -- Khris Middleton scored 40 points, including 10 straight for the Milwaukee Bucks down the stretch to send them past the Phoenix Suns, 109-103 in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.
Middleton’s hot hand and a big block from Giannis Antetokounmpo gave the Bucks their second straight victory in the first close game of the series.
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Antetokounmpo had 26 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists. His streak of two straight 40-point games ended but the only number that matters for the Bucks is on the series scoreboard. Devin Booker had 42 for Phoenix, which hosts Game 5 on Saturday.
10:40 p.m. -- Milwaukee celebrates the win:
10 p.m. -- Fans excited as the Bucks face off against Suns
Tom Durian reports from the Deer District.
9:39 p.m. -- Attendance high regardless of weather
Despite the threat of rain and storms, the Milwaukee Bucks tell our Tom Durian they estimate 22,000 fans are here in Deer District tonight for Game 4. The Bucks said just before 10 p.m. that there are 16,911 people inside Fiserv Forum.
9:23 p.m. -- All tied up at the half of Game 4
Despite poor shooting from Milwaukee overall and a lack of dominance in the paint from Giannis, the Bucks are tied with the Suns at the end of the first half. Milwaukee is 24 minutes away from potentially tying up the series as well.
9:11 p.m. -- Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell spotted at Game 4
8:45 p.m. - '71 Bucks champs
The 1971 Milwaukee Bucks champions are recognized at tonight's game.
8:22 p.m. -- The first of the celeb-sightings during Game 4
Dave Chappelle, Chris Tucker and Michael Redd all appeared on the jubbo-tron tonight during the 1st quarter of Game 1.
8:04 p.m. -- Long list of celebrities attending Game 4
Game 4 at Fiserv Forum will once again be star-studded! Here's the list from USA Today Network's Jeff Zillgitt:
Chance The Rapper, Chris Tucker, Craig Counsell, Dave Chappelle, Donald Driver, John Calipari, Junior Bridgeman, Marques Johnson, Michael Redd, Sheryl Crow, and Za'Darius Smith.
Celebs expected in attendance for Game 4 of Suns-Bucks NBA Finals:— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) July 15, 2021
Chance The Rapper
Sheryl Crow (If the NBA makes you happy ...)
8 p.m. -- '71 title team showing support
Big O Oscar Robertson, Jon McGlocklin and Bobby Dandridge as well as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar repping 71 title team tonight.
7:41 p.m. -- Sheryl Crow spotted at Fiserv Forum
It looks like Sheryl Crow is back in town for the Milwaukee Bucks! Crow and her children also attended Game 2 of Bucks v. Hawks.
7:38 p.m. -- Kareem, 1971 Bucks in the building
Lance Allan reports that Kareem has arrived at Fiserv Forum, along with other members of the 1971 Bucks championship team.
6:32 p.m. -- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar spotted downtown
He's really here! Our own Susan Kim spotted Bucks great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar downtown on his way to Game 4. Earlier today, Kareem said he would be in Milwaukee for the game.
6:16 p.m. -- Colangelo seeks Suns win, reinforcements for US Olympic team
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Jerry Colangelo is headed to Game 5 in Phoenix, hoping to see his old team win its first NBA title.
Getting the NBA Finals over would sure help his current team, too. Colangelo was the Suns’ first general manager when the organization entered the league as an expansion team in 1968.
Over the next 43 years, he went on to hold titles of coach, president, managing general partner, chief executive officer and chairman.
Now managing director of the U.S. men’s national team, Colangelo is with the Americans in Las Vegas before the Olympics. Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, along with the Suns’ Devin Booker, will join the Americans once the finals are over.
5:54 p.m. -- Deer District Racine canceled due to weather
Due to the chance for heavy rain Wednesday night, Deer District Racine has been canceled. The next watch party is still on for this Saturday.
"We look forward to Saturday's game where the weather looks to be great," organizers said on Facebook.
5:14 p.m. -- Suns can hack and whack Giannis, but know he'll keep coming
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo pointed to a pair of scratches, one on his forehead and the other on his cheek.
Those NBA Finals battle scars are proof, he figures, that the frustrated Phoenix Suns are indeed fouling him.
The Suns may be smacking and hacking him, but they sure aren’t stopping the Milwaukee Bucks star.
Coming off two straight 40-point performances, Antetokounmpo will try to help the Bucks even the series in Game 4 on Wednesday. He shot 17 free throws in Game 3. The Suns only had 16 as a team. The Suns know he will keep attacking no matter what.
4:40 p.m. -- Bucks vaccination clinic postponed
Due to severe weather, the COVID-19 vaccination clinic planned by the Milwaukee Health Department and the Bucks for ahead of Game 4 has been postponed.
The clinic (and associated ticket raffle!) will now be held before Game 6 - on Tuesday, July 20;.
"Fans who receive their vaccination on-site will be entered to win two tickets to that night’s game, donated by the Milwaukee Bucks," the Health Department said in a news release.
4:26 p.m. -- Deer District festivities delayed until 6:30 p.m.
Due to rotten weather, fans will have to wait until 6:30 p.m. to get into the Deer District for the Game 4 watch party. Here's the statement we just got from the Bucks:
"The Bucks will delay opening the gates for Deer District until 6:30 p.m. and fans without tickets to the game are encouraged to arrive as close to game time as possible. We will continue to monitor the weather and update any changes as appropriate."
Luckily, reporter Tony Atkins says that the rain is slowing down for now.
Check back often for more updates.
4:22 p.m. -- Suns' Ayton says he won't let Game 3 foul trouble bother him
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton says he wants to make sure his foul trouble in Game 3 doesn’t impact the way he plays the rest of the NBA Finals.
Ayton collected 18 points and nine rebounds but played less than 25 minutes in Phoenix’s 120-100 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday.
He ended up with five fouls. That's the first time this postseason he committed more than four fouls in a single game.
Phoenix owns a 2-1 lead in the series heading into Game 4 on Wednesday.
3:51 p.m. -- Deer District activities suspended due to weather
Per our Tony Atkins, "all activities" at Deer District have been suspended until further notice. We're working to learn more and will update as soon as possible.
1:58 p.m. -- NBA Finals ratings up from 2020 pandemic, down from 2019
NEW YORK (AP) — The NBA Finals has gained some, but not all of its audience back after last year's trip to the pandemic bubble.
Ratings were way down last year when the Finals were held in October with no live audience watching the L.A. Lakers win the championship.
This year, back closer to a normal time and with a live audience providing atmosphere, viewership was up 41% compared to the first three games of last year. Still, the opening games were down 34% from 2019, the last time there was a “normal” series and Toronto beat Golden State.
1:17 p.m. -- Milwaukee Bucks legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says he will attend Game 4 of the NBA Finals in Milwaukee
One of the NBA's all-time greats and the man who helped deliver Milwaukee its only NBA Championship back in 1971, Kareem-Abdul Jabbar, says he'll be in Milwaukee for Game 4 of the NBA Finals Wednesday night.
Kareem broke the news on his Twitter page Wednesday morning, as part of "two big announcements" he had to make:
I have 2 big announcements to make: I’m headed to Milwaukee for Game 4 tonite & can’t wait to see all the fans for the win! If you’re lucky enough for me to hear u scream I’ll flip you a signed card. More of a wowzer…— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (@kaj33) July 14, 2021
“I’m so excited to be on the cover of #NBA2K22. Thx @NBA2K! pic.twitter.com/JC7MJta5UU
"I’m headed to Milwaukee for Game 4 tonite & can’t wait to see all the fans for the win!" Kareem said on Twitter. "If you’re lucky enough for me to hear u scream I’ll flip you a signed card. More of a wowzer… I’m so excited to be on the cover of #NBA2K22."
That's right - not only is The Tower From Power sitting courtside to cheer the deer for Game 4 of the NBA Finals - he's also going to be on the cover of game developer 2K's latest NBA franchise video game.
12:53 p.m. -- Outdoor watch party at Deer District still happening
Bucks officials say the watch party at the Deer District for Game 4 of the NBA Finals is still scheduled to take place.
Weather forecasts predict two rounds of storms passing through the region, and they could possibly be severe. You can check Brian Niznansky's most recent forecast here.
The Bucks say they will continue to monitor weather reports throughout the afternoon, and will announce if anything changes by 4 p.m.
12:21 p.m. -- Bucks once again hosting indoor watch party for Game 5 of NBA Finals
Game 4 hasn't even happened yet, but we already know that there will be a watch party indoor Fiserv Forum for Game 5 of the NBA Finals this Sunday.
The sold-out watch parties for Games 1 and 2 at Fiserv Forum netted 18,000 ticket sales, the Bucks say.
Ticket prices will stay at $10, the majority of which will benefit the Milwaukee Bucks foundation. Seating will be reserved in the lower bowl.