Game Five: How to Steal a Game in 12 Minutes
The Milwaukee Bucks, down 16 after one quarter, bounce back to take over Game Five and move one win away from a championship
After four games in this year's NBA Finals, it's now a two-out-of-three series. Home court remained on the side of the Phoenix Suns entering this pivotal Game Five, meaning that while the Milwaukee Bucks earned one final home game, they had to win on the road to make things easier for themselves. They hadn't done so in this series, and regarding this game, the task became harder with a dominant first quarter for the Suns. After the first dozen minutes, it was 37-21 Suns, and while watching, I simply thought that we'd see the home court dominance pay off for Devin Booker, Chris Paul, and the Phoenix Suns.
Little did we all know what we were in for.
The Bucks decided to not only put their foot on the gas pedal, they basically super-glued it to that proverbial pedal! They didn't miss anything and the Suns just couldn't solve them in the final 12 minutes of the first half, and when all the dust cleared, the Bucks entered halftime up by three points. A 64-61 lead for Milwaukee as a result of a nineteen-point turnaround. And they didn't stop there. The Bucks put up 36 points in the third quarter; in all, outscoring the Suns 79-53 in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. They continued their roll in the fourth quarter, though the Suns did attempt to fight back from a double digit deficit. After a Bucks miss, Phoenix--down one--regained possession, and Devin Booker, the scoring leader in this game, had the ball and was poised to drive down the net.
Little did he know what he was in for.
With the ball in both hands, and with 16 seconds left, Booker ended up robbed of the ball by Jrue Holiday, and a two-on-one breakaway saw Holiday get the ball to Giannis Antetokounmpo, who not only dunked, but got fouled while doing so. The Greek Freak went 1-for-2 on the line afterwards, but it was enough to seal it. The Milwaukee Bucks won 123-119. They are now one win away from their first NBA Championship in 50 years.
Giannis led the Bucks in scoring in Game Five; 32 points to go with nine rebounds and six assists. Holiday, whose steal sealed the game for the Bucks, racked up 27 points and 13 boards, while that steal was his third of the game. Khris Middleton, who scored 40 in Game Four, picked up 29 in Game Five. As for the Suns, Booker did have a productive game as I expected, 40 points, but for the second straight game, he was in foul trouble. Plus, I would think that his turnover would haunt Booker, especially if the Bucks go on to win the whole thing. Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton each had double-doubles; Paul had 21 points and 11 assists, while Ayton had 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Plain and simple, the Bucks stole this one, which is what they needed to do. While one quarter does not make a complete game, the Suns led by 16 after that one quarter. In addition, they were at home. This was Phoenix's game to win, and--with the exception of a last gasp in the fourth--they just simply checked out. Nothing really went right for the Suns after that first quarter, and as a result, the Bucks are one win away from an NBA Championship.
The Bucks can wrap it up at home on Tuesday. Without question, this will be the most important NBA game played in Milwaukee; a chance to win for the first time since 1971. A chance for Giannis to add a ring to go with his two NBA MVP awards. The odds are in Milwaukee's favor; not only is Game Six on their court, but in a 2-2 Finals, the winner of Game Five goes on to win the Finals 72% of the time. Even with those odds, it is not a foregone conclusion that the Bucks will win, and they better not take it that way. The Suns have their backs to the wall, and it's usually the teams who are backed into a corner who really fight back very well. The Bucks need to continue doing what they've been doing in the last three games, because if they don't, it could me one final trip to Phoenix on Thursday.
One more thing: can I just say how great it is that we're seeing such a fun NBA Finals? And the reason: it's not the same teams and players this year. Nine of the 10 Finals between 2011 and 2020 featured LeBron James, and we also had to see LeBron vs Steph Curry for four years in a row. The same teams, the same players, no parity. This NBA Finals could be the start of a huge shift in the league; a shift that could see the end of superteams. Regardless of who wins this, I can honestly say that this is the best Finals I've seen in a while.
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Born on March 18, 1985. I am an avid fan of sports and wrestling, and I've been a fan of female villains since the age of eight. Also love movies--especially comedy and horror--and among my favorite TV shows are The Simpsons and Family Guy