Playoffs 2021

NBA Playoffs 2021: Milwaukee Bucks flex defensive muscle to even series with Game 4 win over Brooklyn Nets

We've got ourselves a series.

After facing a 2-0 series deficit, the Milwaukee Bucks have even things up with a 107-96 win over the Brooklyn Nets in Game 4. Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way for Milwaukee with 34 points and 12 boards, while Khris Middleton finished with 19 points and eight assists in 41 minutes of action.

For Brooklyn, Kevin Durant led the way with 28 points (on 9-for-25 shooting) while all eyes are on Kyrie Irving, who left midway through the second quarter with a sprained ankle.

Here are some thoughts on the game from the buzzer…

The Bucks finally get the 3 ball to fall

In Games 1 through 3, Milwaukee shot a combined 20-for-88 (22.7 percent) from 3-point range, including a 6-for-31 (19.4 percent) outing in Game 3.

In Game 4, the Bucks sank their sixth triple less than three minutes into the second frame.

Milwaukee finished the game shooting 16-for-47 (34.0 percent) from deep, with Jrue Holiday (2-for-7), Bryn Forbes (2-for-6), Brook Lopez (2-for-6), Pat Connaughton (2-for-5), Khris Middleton (3-for-8) and P.J. Tucker (3-for-6) each hitting multiple 3s.

The Nets, on the other hand, finished shooting 10-for-33 from deep.

Giannis gets it done

For the third time in the series, Antetokounmpo eclipsed the 30-point mark.

In Game 4, Giannis got his work done downhill as well as in transition, finishing with 34 points (on 14-for-26 shooting) to go along with 12 rebounds and three assists. He slightly dialled back on the 3-point attempts, shooting 1-for-5 from deep after hitting his first triple of the night and scored 26 points in the paint.

He electrified the crowd all night.

And this sequence was the ultimate exclamation point.

He's a two-time MVP for a reason, and a lower dosage of 3s and more of what was displayed in Game 4 are both in the formula for Milwaukee to get a win in Game 5.

Kyrie exits early

The hits keep coming for the Nets.

Midway through the second quarter, Irving landed on Antetokounmpo's foot and remained down with what was ruled a sprained right ankle. After exiting the floor on his own power, the All-Star guard was ruled out for the remainder of the game with the injury.

Irving finished with 11 points (on 5-for-11 shooting), five rebounds and two assists in 17 minutes of action.

Brooklyn was already without All-Star guard James Harden, who has missed all but the first 43 seconds of the series with a strained right hamstring.

Tucker puts on a 3-and-D masterclass

Tucker found his 3-point shot in Game 4, knocking down triples after going 0-for-4 from the field in Game 3. He would finish with 13 points on the aforementioned 3-for-6 shooting from deep.

But it wasn't just the shooting.

Tucker, again faced with the near-impossible task of guarding Durant, did just about as good of a job on defence that he could do. Giving up nearly five inches to Durant, Tucker used his strength and physicality to make sure that he was felt on the defensive end.

Games like these are exactly why Milwaukee motioned to acquire Tucker ahead of the season's stretch run.

KD's job gets much tougher

Without Harden and Irving, all of the Nets scoring responsibilities were relegated to Durant, who is definitely fit for the job.

Conversely, it meant Milwaukee's defence could place the majority of its focus on Durant.

With Tucker and the Bucks keying in even more on Durant, the four-time scoring champ finished the game shooting 9-for-25 (36.0 percent) from the field and 1-for-8 (12.5 percent) from beyond the arc to finish with 28 points in the game.

What's next?

The series heads back to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY for a pivotal Game 5 on Tuesday, June 15 (ET), with a tip time dependent on the result of Game 4 between the Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets.

Can Milwaukee continue to build upon this momentum? Will either of Brooklyn's star guards return to the lineup?

We've got you covered on NBA.com for updates leading up to the next big game between these two Eastern Conference heavyweights.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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