In a game of tight margins, there was little room for error on the road as the Phoenix Suns let a golden opportunity slip in Game 4.
Fueled by Devin Booker's 42-point game, the Suns were in the contest down the stretch, with a chance to take a commanding 3-1 series lead and set up a potential closeout on their home floor, instead, they return home with the series tied at 2-2.
While Giannis Antetokounmpo's clutch block stole the headlines, the Suns will be more concerned with their costly turnovers as their late-game execution - which has been terrific throughout the postseason - failed to fire.
TAKEAWAYS: Middleton, Antetokounmpo shine as Bucks even series
The Suns turned the ball over 17 times, which led to 24 Bucks points - a glaring number considering Milwaukee only turned the ball over five times in the 109-103 win.
"The turnovers just crushed us tonight," Suns head coach Monty Williams said. "They got 19 more (field goal attempts) than we did."
Chris Paul, who accounted for five of the team's turnovers, didn't mince his words post-game, taking responsibility for their struggles in Game 4.
"It was me, I had five of them," he said postgame.
"It was bad decision-making. Timely, down two and I tried to cross it over right there and I slipped and turned it over. I had some bad passes in the first half. They got a significant amount more shots than us so for me I gotta take care of the ball. We got 17 turnovers, we shoot the ball to well not to have those opportunities to score."
Paul's fifth turnover of the night came with 32 seconds remaining and the Suns trailing by two as Jrue Holiday found Khris Middleton for a layup at the other end to ice the win.
THAT'S TUFF, KHRIS. pic.twitter.com/wvtkbr6txU- Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) July 15, 2021
After Paul torched the Bucks for 32 points and nine assists in Game 1, with just two turnovers, the Bucks have guarded him much more aggressively, with Holiday hounding him at half-court and trying to take away his signature mid-range jumper as much as possible.
And it's working.
Paul has had 15 turnovers in the past three games, his most in a three-game stretch in the playoffs since 2012 and only the second time since 2018, he's committed four or more turnovers in three consecutive games.
MORE: Booker creates playoff history in Game 4
For context, in the first round against the Los Angeles Lakers, he had nine turnovers (six games), followed by just five against the Denver Nuggets (four games) and eight against the Los Angeles Clippers (four games).
Chris Paul has 15 turnovers in his last 3 games. pic.twitter.com/XJeyNGQnkv- StatMuse (@statmuse) July 15, 2021
"I think it's just making him uncomfortable," Holiday said postgame. "Always keeping bodies by him, two and three people and not really getting a clear view of what he wants to do. It's not me, by myself its definitely a team effort."
Paul finished with 10 points, seven assists, four rebounds and five turnovers on 5-of-13 shooting from the field and 0-of-2 from beyond the arc, not attempting a single free throw.
Despite two disappointing losses on the road, the Suns will have a chance to regain momentum in the series when they return home to Phoenix for Game 5, where they've gone 8-2 throughout the postseason.
Game 5 is scheduled for Saturday, July 17, with tip-off at 9:00 p.m. ET.
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.