The 2021 NBA Finals is now tied up at two games apiece, effectively turning this series into a best-of-three showdown that begins with Game 5 this evening. The Phoenix Suns finally return home after a rough stretch on the road, letting the Milwaukee Bucks back into contention following back-to-back losses.
While the Bucks clearly have all the momentum right now—especially after coming up clutch in waning moments of Thursday’s pivotal matchup—the Suns are still the favorite to be crowned this season’s champion. Milwaukee may have closed the gap significantly, but Phoenix is still -145 to lift the Larry O’Brien Trophy at the end of this series, a line that still puts the club slightly ahead of the Bucks at +125.
One of the main reasons for this is that the Suns have been one of the toughest home teams during the 2021 NBA Playoffs. They’ve only lost twice at their venue—compiling an 8-2 record that trails only the 9-1 Bucks for best of any franchise to make the field this year—and ripped off a pair of double-digit victories to start the Finals there.
It’s not truly a series until the home team loses, something the Bucks are keenly aware of at this point. The visitors must prove they can stop the Suns in Arizona if they want to raise the organization’s first banner since 1971. Oddsmakers aren’t high on Milwaukee’s chances of accomplishing that tall task tonight, however, as they have installed Phoenix as four-point chalk for Game 5.
The stage is now set for a riveting Game 5, a matchup that has been long been instrumental in determining a champion. Throughout the entirety of NBA Playoff history, over 80% of teams that won Game 5 of a tied series would eventually go on to win the series. Since the turn of the millennium, eight Finals have been deadlocked at this juncture and on seven of those occasions the Game 5 winner ultimately ended up being crowned champion.
With the stakes high and the pressure on, Game 5 will be a must-watch. Find out how you can tune into this exciting 2021 NBA Finals battle by checking out the viewing guide—which includes the schedule, start time, TV channel and live stream site—below:
2021 NBA Finals Game 5 Viewing Guide
Date And Start Time: Saturday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET
Live Stream: WatchESPN.com and ESPN App
NBA Finals 2021 Standings, Scores And Schedule
Game 1: Suns 118 – Bucks 105 (Phoenix 1 – Milwaukee 0)
Game 2: Suns 118 – Bucks 108 (Phoenix 2 – Milwaukee 0)
Game 3: Bucks 120 – Suns 100 (Phoenix 2 – Milwaukee 1)
Game 4: Bucks 109 – Suns 103 (Phoenix 2 – Milwaukee 2)
Game 5: Saturday, July 17, Milwaukee at Phoenix, 9 ET, ABC
Game 6: Tuesday, July 20, Phoenix at Milwaukee, TBD, ABC
Game 7: Thursday, July 22, Milwaukee at Phoenix, TBD, ABC*
If the Suns are going to snap their losing streak, they will need star guard Chris Paul to rekindle the form that made him a massive Finals MVP favorite following sterling performances in Games 1 and 2. CP3 noticeably struggled in Milwaukee, seeing his scoring averages drop from a heroic 27.5 points per game at home to a pedestrian 14.5 points across Games 3 and 4.
Devin Booker, Paul’s backcourt mate, found his stroke in the last contest and put together his best outing since the opening round, but it wasn’t enough to give Phoenix a comfortable 3-1 lead in the series. The 24-year-old exploded for 42 points on 17-of-28 shooting, doing his best to keep the Suns in contention against a Bucks foe riding a red-hot Khris Middleton.
Middleton finally broke out for the first time in this series, coming through for his squad at the perfect time. The swingman had been averaging just 19.3 points over the first three games of the 2021 NBA Finals, but more than doubled that with a 40-point performance to lead the Bucks to a Game 4 victory.
With Middleton shouldering the scoring load, Giannis Antetokounmpo—who had scored 40-plus points in back-to-back contests leading up to Game 4—was able to exert more energy on the defensive end. That was exemplified by the two-time league MVP’s incredible block on Suns center Deandre Ayton in the waning minutes of the matchup, an amazing defensive play that allowed Milwaukee to preserve its narrow, two-point lead in crunch time.
Giannis’ incredible all-around performance—he added 26 points, 14 boards, eight assists and three steals—vaulted him to the top of the Finals MVP odds table, usurping Paul for the first time. Booker is also back in contention—moving from +1200 to +240—on the back of his blistering performance, although it didn’t carry as much weight in a losing effort.
You can find the full list of odds for not only Game 5, but also the series and the Suns-Bucks NBA Finals props that are still on the board below:
NBA Finals 2021 Odds
Championship Odds: Suns -145, Bucks +125
Game 5 Odds: Suns -4
Game 5 Total: Over-Under 218 Points
Game 5 Moneyline: Suns +150, Bucks -178
NBA Finals odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook
2021 NBA Finals Props
Suns-Bucks Series Outcome
- Suns 4-2 (+290)
- Suns 4-3 (+160)
- Bucks 4-2 (+300)
- Bucks 4-3 (+320)
Finals MVP Odds
- Giannis Antetokounmpo: +110
- Chris Paul +170
- Devin Booker +240
- Khris Middleton: +2000
- Deandre Ayton: +10000
- Jrue Holiday: +12000