Stealing and Alley-Oop Leaves The Bucks With A Win From The NBA Title

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PHOENIX – In the most important series of his basketball career, Jrue Holiday threw both caution and basketball to the wind.

The Milwaukee Bucks were leading by one point with about 21 seconds left when Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker entered the paint in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Realizing that Booker was looking for the best place to shoot, Holiday got away from Chris Paul and went to Booker’s blind side. As Booker turned into him, Holiday got the ball out of his hand and took the field.

Presumably, Holiday then calmly lifted the ball into the air towards the rim instead of finishing the clock; It was a risky offer, a risky offer that could have resulted in multiple dire consequences, such as allowing the Suns to take a lead late Saturday night, controlling control. the series is progressing and second guessing for years.

Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, however, saw himself alone in the open field and more than once signaled for the pass. The holiday had to throw off the moment for momentum. Antetokounmpo skied and barely finished the narrow track with 13.5 seconds as Paul helplessly fouled him.

“I mean, they don’t call him a freak for nothing,” Holiday said. “I threw it as high as I could.”

A game after winning one of the most athletic and mind-blowing games blocks In the history of the NBA finals, when Deandre rejected Ayton near the rim, Antetokounmpo arranged an alley where the stakes couldn’t be higher.

“Right now I was,” Antetokounmpo said. “I wasn’t worried about the clock. I wasn’t worried about the crowd. I wasn’t worried about anything. I was worried and vomited as I was in the open lane and he trusted me. ”

The Bucks relied on Holiday’s funneling anger, Khris Middleton’s on-time shooting, and Antetokounmpo – always Antetokounmpo – in a frenzied comeback bid with Phoenix’s 123-119 win to take a 3-2 lead in this best-of-seven series.

The Finals return to Milwaukee for Game 6 on Tuesday night, when the Bucks could clinch their first title in half a century.

“Obviously we know what the deal is,” Antetokounmpo said. “He is one game away from being an NBA champion, from being in the history of this game, from being there all the time. You know, no one can take that from you. It’s a big thing to do this in front of our families and fans. It will be big. It can wait. We have to stay focused and keep playing good basketball.”

Milwaukee has picked up the momentum of the finals after opening the series with consecutive losses, a deficit only four teams have overcome in NBA history.

The Suns and Bucks successfully defended their home grounds in the first four games of the series, a pattern that looked ready to move on early in Game 5.

Phoenix nearly doubled down on Milwaukee in the first quarter as Holiday was plagued by early fouls and a crowd on the court, including LeBron James, gave deafening approval.

With Antetokounmpo resting, Holiday and Pat Connaughton’s goals from the bench proved Milwaukee right in the second quarter.

Phoenix is ​​increasingly relying on the production of Booker, a dynamic and versatile scorer right up to the predictable critical game that led to the end of Antetokounmpo. Early beats developed by rotation players like Jae Crowder and Mikal Bridges are lost when their offense is centered on Booker.

Booker scored at least 40 points in his second game in a row in a final game where Phoenix fell short.

“We have to get him moving,” said Suns Coach Monty Williams. We know what Book could do with the ball, but all we talked about was going to paint, finding guys in the back. We feel it is a formula. There have been times when he hung out a bit tonight and they don’t have to work against it, against their defense.”

Behaving carelessly with the ball in Game 4, Paul finished Game 5 with 21 points, 11 assists and one turnover.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” said Paul, who competed for his first title in 16 NBA seasons. “We didn’t expect it to happen. It’s tough. Coach has said all year: Everything we want is on the other side of the challenge, and it can’t get any harder than that.”

Phoenix kept hope after street. Antetokounmpo, a shaky free throw During this season’s end, the shooter missed his try with 13.5 seconds left. He volleyed the rebound against the fouled Middleton and secured the result with his own free throw.

“It was a terrible loss,” Ayton said of his team’s failure to rebound. “It was just an athletic game. He threw it behind him, knowing that his teammates were there. It was a bad miss.”

Antetokounmpo postponed his post-match media session with reporters while dealing with cramps. He continued his exciting final with 32 points and 9 rebounds. Going bucket to bucket with Booker in overtime in the second half, Middleton scored 29 points. Holiday added 27 points and 13 assists.

The Bucks have had a disappointing drop in previous seasons. With a goal in mind like the NBA finals, they bought Holiday, a ball-hunting defensive player and respected point guard.

Persistent, full-court harassment of Paul and Booker began paying dividends before his shot.

“One of the things we talk about in the locker room all the time is aggressive Jrue. When he’s aggressive and gets in the paint, he can do a lot of things on the field when he shoots and gets a guy like we saw tonight. He’s a well-balanced player and a really talented player that we’re lucky to have.”

Holiday offered a preview of her dramatic endgame performance in the third quarter. He opened Booker’s pocket and found himself alone just beyond the 3-point line.

Instead of waiting for his teammates, he fired 3 points without hesitation.

“I went 4 to 20 before and we still won and I know I can do other things to influence the game,” Holiday said. Said. “I know when my shot is going to go and I’m trying to make plays for others, which is definitely an added bonus.”

Prior to the game, the NBA had managed to avoid coronavirus protocol-related absences as cases continued to creep across the country.

Giannis’ older brother, Thanasis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee, missed Saturday’s game after breaking into NBA health and safety protocols. Thanasis Antetokounmpo has played very little this season, but has often offered Giannis motivation from the sidelines.

“Just because I got to know him a little better, he was probably screaming in front of the TV and probably just having the last ball, he probably took off his shirt and started playing defense, sweating, jumping on the bed,” said Giannis Antetokounmpo. game.

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