Milwaukee Bucks are one game away from their second NBA Championship in franchise history after dominating the Phoenix Suns in an exciting Game 5. The Big Three Bucks had their best team play of the playoffs at the perfect time, with Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way with 32 points in the 123-119 victory.
In each of the first four games, defense was a key factor in the result, but in the fifth game it was obvious from the start that Saturday night’s game would be a shootout. Each of the losing teams in open games swept 100 points, but the Suns set the tone early on with a big first quarter.
The suns start hot, but slip in the second trimester
Phoenix took advantage of a sloppy handling of the Bucks ball in the first quarter to jump to an early lead of 16 points. Milwaukee returned the ball five times, as many as they did in all of Game 4, in the opening seven minutes. The Suns used a ten straight basket streak to take a 32-16 lead. The home side went 14 of 19 onto the pitch to start the game and led 37-21 by the end of twelve minutes.
The Bucks erased the double-digit lead almost immediately after the quarterback change with a 16-3 streak. Jrue Holiday picked the perfect night to play his biggest game of the playoffs, and it all started with a 14-point second quarter. Holiday’s huge second tied a career-high points in quarterback. It took a little over six minutes for Milwaukee to bounce back and gain the advantage over the Suns, who struggled to find good shots after their dazzling start.
Holiday Heroic Game 5
The Bucks used a 43-point quarterback to enter the halftime break with the lead. The Suns had three double-digit players at the break, but Holiday led the way in the first two quarters with 18 points.
Khris Middleton and Devin Booker went head-to-head to start the second half as the two scored in double digits in the opening six minutes of the third quarter. The Bucks used a 12-4 run to extend the lead to double digits after scoring 100 points before the fourth.
Suns fell from 14 to fourth
Milwaukee led to 14 in the fourth quarter, but Phoenix fought back. Chris Paul and Devin Booker made a final charge to close the gap to one with 37 seconds to go, but for the second game in a row, a monumental defensive play made the difference late in the game.
The Suns had the ball with a chance to take the lead, but Holiday’s Booker gang led to an alley oop jam by Giannis who suffered a foul by Paul with just 13.5 left in the last quarter. The Greek missed the free throw, but the offensive rebound was picked up by Khris Middleton. Middleton hit a free throw to make it a two-possession game and Milwaukee closed the game to take their first lead in the series.
Bucks Big Three clicks at the perfect time
The Bucks trio scored 88 of 123 Bucks points. Giannis led the way with 32 points and nine rebounds, while Middleton lost 29. Holiday posted his best playoff stat line with 27 points and 13 assists, not to mention his winning steal.
Devin Booker achieved second consecutive 40-point performance and made only two turnovers, but his latest giveaway was the difference maker that led to Giannis Lane. Paul followed 21 and 11 assists, and Ayton had 20 and 10 rebounds, but the Suns failed in their comeback offer.
Milwaukee in a title game
The Bucks improved to 6-6 on the road in the playoffs, but came with the most important away victory to give himself a chance to win the title at home. Milwaukee has lost just one game at the Fiserv Forum and will return on Tuesday night with a chance to close the series.
The Bucks can win their first NBA championship since 1971 in Game 6. The departure from Wisconsin is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET.