Entering the fourth quarter on Sunday evening, the Hawks found themselves with a 85-83 lead over the Bucks and a chance to take a 2-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals. However, Khris Middleton had other plans.
Milwaukee’s oft-maligned sidekick outscored Atlanta in the fourth quarter, dropping 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the floor and 4-of-6 from deep. It was part of a fourth quarter in which the Bucks outscored the Hawks 30-17 and held the home team to 0.773 points per possession on the way to a win (and cover) on the road. It was a competitive game with a somewhat lopsided result, and there is a chance that is the nature of this series going forward.
Through three games, the Bucks are 2-1 SU/ATS with a + 13.8 net rating -- and their two victories have come by a combined 45 points. Sure, that number is greatly skewed by a 34-point victory in Game 2, but a + 59.1 net rating in the fourth quarter on Sunday night shows the potential gap between these two clubs. The market has responded as such, with Milwaukee installed at -6 at the open for Game 4 in Atlanta. A number that high tells us the Bucks should be an 11-point favorite at home, a massive adjustment from the Game 1 number in Milwaukee.
Here is my betting preview of Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals:
Los Angeles Clippers at Phoenix Suns (-6.5, 218)