Is Game 5 the last game?
End of Game 5 — The Bucks outlast the Suns for a 123-119 victory in Game 5. Milwaukee takes a 3-2 lead in the series and now sets up a chance to close out the series at home. DraftKings NationBucks vs. Suns Game 5 final score: Big 3 for Milwaukee comes through in 123-119 win
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18 July, 2021 - 10:01am
Took it right out of Devin Booker's hands, actually.
“It’s who he is," teammate Pat Connaughton said. “He’s a winner.”
And for the first time in 50 years, the Bucks have a chance to be.
Antetokounmpo had 32 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Khris Middleton added 29 points, and Holiday had 27 points and 13 assists.
The Bucks fought their way out of an early 16-point hole by flirting with the best-shooting night in NBA Finals history, but then won it by making a huge defensive play for the second straight game.
They can win their first title since 1971 on Tuesday night in Milwaukee.
“Obviously we know what the deal is. It’s one game away from being the NBA champ," said Antetokounmpo, whose postgame press conference was delayed because he was dehydrated.
Booker had 40 points, his second straight 40-point game. But with the Suns rallying and down one with 16 seconds left, he drove into the middle and Holiday wrestled the ball out of his hands.
“I was just trying to score the ball, he was behind me,” Booker said. “I turned and he was right there.”
Antetokounmpo sprinted down the court to his right and Holiday — rather than pulling the ball out to run the clock down — fired a perfect lob pass that the Greek Freak slammed down while Chris Paul fouled him to make it 122-119.
“Giannis took off and he was calling for the ball," Holiday said. “At that point, I just threw it as high as I could and only where Giannis could go get it,”
Antetokounmpo missed the free throw, but the Bucks grabbed the rebound and Middleton made one free throw for the final point of the night.
Before the defensive stand, Milwaukee's offense was the story. The Bucks made 32 of 45 shots in the middle two quarters, outscoring the Suns 79-53 during that stretch.
Milwaukee became the first road team to win in the series and with one more victory will complete its second 2-0 comeback in this postseason — along with the fifth in NBA Finals history.
Game 5 winners of a tied series have won the series 21 of 29 times in the NBA Finals.
“We've got to win one game to put them back on the plane. That’s it,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “And you have to have that determination that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to put them back on the plane.”
Paul had 21 points and 11 assists, and Deandre Ayton finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds. But the Suns missed a chance to move within a victory of their first championship and will need a victory at Fiserv Forum to bring the series back to the desert for Game 7 on Thursday night.
“We knew this wasn’t going to be easy. We didn’t expect it to be. It’s hard,” Paul said. “Coach said it all year long, everything we want is on the other side of hard and it don’t get no harder than this.”
Milwaukee was at 62.1% shooting after three quarters, threatening to challenge Orlando’s 62.5% mark against the Lakers in Game 3 of the 2009 finals. Holiday’s basket had the Bucks in good shape at 108-94 with about 9 minutes remaining, but the Suns put together a push in the final minutes.
Down 10 with just under 3 1/2 minutes remaining, the Suns got a 3 from Booker and a basket by Paul to cut it to 120-119 with 56 seconds to play. Holiday missed a jumper, but that didn’t matter once the defensive ace of the Bucks backcourt took it back from Booker.
It wasn’t as spectacular a defensive play as Antetokounmpo’s block of Ayton’s dunk attempt that preserved a two-point lead in Game 4, but it was every bit as important to a Bucks team making its first finals appearance since 1974.
It got off to a bad start when the Suns won the first two games, but things changed when the series moved — even the name of the arena. The Suns announced a naming rights deal Friday that changed Phoenix Suns Arena into the Footprint Center.
Whatever the name, the arena was so loud during the Suns’ sensational start to the first quarter that nobody could hear a foul on P.J. Tucker after a turnover to prevent a breakaway. The Suns passed it ahead to Booker, who threw down a dunk as Antetokounmpo sprinted back and grabbed his arm in what otherwise may have drawn a flagrant foul.
Not getting that basket didn’t slow the Suns, who scored the next seven points to open a 32-16 lead on Mikal Bridges’ 3-pointer. The Suns made 14 of 19 shots (73.7%) in the first quarter and led 37-21.
But Booker started the second on the bench and the Bucks opened with a 21-5 spurt to quickly tie it at 42 on Connaughton’s 3-pointer with 7:48 remaining in the half.
Milwaukee took a 64-61 advantage to the break, becoming the second team in finals history to lead at halftime after trailing by at least 15 after one, according to Elias.
Bucks: Milwaukee played without Thanasis Antetokounmpo. Giannis’ older brother was placed in health and safety protocols. Coach Mike Budenholzer said the Bucks wouldn’t have their whole staff for the same reason.
Suns: Paul has 1,068 assists in the playoffs. He moved ahead of Steve Nash and Larry Bird into seventh place on the career list during the game. ... Bridges scored 13 points.
James Williams was the umpire for the game. He replaced Sean Wright, who was placed in the NBA's health and safety protocols.
Follow Brian Mahoney on Twitter at https://twitter.com/briancmahoney
Holiday, who scored 27 points in the Game 5 win, made the biggest steal and pass of his career to get the Bucks within a game of their first title in 50 years.
Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams was matter-of-fact after Saturday's 123-119 loss put his team down 3-2 in the NBA Finals: Do "whatever it takes" to force Game 7.
Michael Wilbon breaks down the big performances from Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday to lead the Bucks to a victory in Game 5.
18 July, 2021 - 10:01am
Devin Booker was not a fan of a stupid question he received after his Phoenix Suns lost 123-119 to the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Saturday night.
Booker’s Suns blew an early lead, fell behind in the second half, and then worked to make it a 1-possession game in the final minute. A great play by two of the Bucks’ stars helped turn the game and seal the win (video here).
Losing Game 5 at home, especially after they jumped out in front and then nearly made the full comeback, had to have been heartbreaking for the Suns. It likely wore on Booker extra hard after he had the ball stolen from him at the end.
So you can understand why Booker didn’t think this question from the Arizona Republic’s Greg Moore was worth answering.
"Devin how frustrated are you for Chris right now?"
D-Book wasn't having it pic.twitter.com/5ib4XBVrzv
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 18, 2021
Yes, a reporter asked Booker how he frustrated he felt for Chris Paul. Not how frustrated Booker felt, but how frustrated he felt for CP3. That’s such a bad question.
Yes, we know there is a narrative about Paul finally having an opportunity to win his first championship. But guess what? The same is true for Booker. Booker is every bit as invested as Paul, if not more, given the struggles he endured when Phoenix was the worst team in the league. Any emotions Paul is feeling, Booker no doubt feels as well. Booker also lost the game for the Suns with his turnover.
How could a reporter miss and ignore all that, and then spit in Booker’s face by asking him how he feels for Paul? That’s just bonkers.
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The Phoenix Suns fell to the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 5 of the NBA Finals Saturday, with a key moment coming when the Suns couldn’t rebound off a Giannis Antetokounmpo missed free throw late in the fourth quarter. That moment frustrat