MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo didn’t dominate.
Jrue Holiday had another rough offensive night, expending effort to guard Devin Booker and Chris Paul.
The Milwaukee Bucks’ bench was OK, not great.
But the Bucks leaned on Khris Middleton and overcame 40% shooting from the field and a spectacular offensive performance from Booker to beat the Phoenix Suns 109-103 in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday in the best game of the series.
Trailing for much of the second half, the Bucks pulled ahead late in the fourth quarter with eight straight points from Middleton and great defense, including two Antetokounmpo blocks — one on Chris Paul and one on Deandre Ayton.
Middleton led the Bucks with 40 points, and Antetokounmpo had 26 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists and two blocks.
The series is tied 2-2, and Game 5 is Saturday in Phoenix (9 p.m. ET, ABC).
Here are four key takeaways from Milwaukee’s Game 4 win:
Middleton yes, Holiday no
Middleton was aggressive from the start. He took 15 shots in the first half and ended with a playoff career-high 33 attempts. He scored 24 points in the second half and gave the Bucks a chance to win.
His backcourt partner Holiday had another rough shooting night in the Finals. Holiday was 4-for-20 and didn’t have a deft touch on his shots at the rim.
The Bucks had chances. Pat Connaughton missed a 3-pointer that would’ve tied the score with 7:15 remaining in the fourth quarter, and Holiday missed a 3 with 4:05 to play that would’ve tied the score at 95-95. Another missed Holiday shot would’ve put Milwaukee ahead 99-97.
Booker was balling
Booker had just 10 points on 3-for-14 shooting in Milwaukee’s Game 3 victory. He’s known for bounce-back games, and he had one in Game 4.
He had 12 points in the second quarter and 18 points in the third. But he picked up his fourth foul in the third and his fifth foul with 10:50 left in the game. He had 38 points when he left the game. Booker returned with 5:55 left, and the Suns up 93-90.
Booker, who finished with 42 points, destroyed Milwaukee with his mid-range game around the foul line.
Limiting Antetokounmpo — to a degree
Ayton stayed out of foul trouble and that helped the Suns protect the paint much better than they did in Game 3 when the Bucks had a 54-40 advantage, including 28 points in the paint from Antetokounmpo.
The Bucks star finished with 20 points in the paint Wednesday.
Ayton had six points, 17 rebounds, five assists and three blocks.
Paul scored just 10 points and finished with five turnovers, giving him 17 in four Finals games. The Bucks scored 24 points on 17 Suns turnovers and outscored the Suns 15-0 in fastbreak points. Phoenix coach Monty Williams has been concerned with transition defense all series, and it doesn’t help when the Suns are giving away live-ball turnovers.
“We have to have efficient offense and balanced offense so we can get guys back,” Williams said before Game 4. “But two, once there’s a transition awareness for us, we got to sprint and get back and form the wall and then know it’s not just about Giannis.”
Follow Jeff Zillgitt on Twitter @JeffZillgitt.