Jrue Holiday took advantage of his opportunity to give the Milwaukee Bucks the lead during the NBA Finals.
It was actually Devin Booker who took it.
Holiday’s steal, and alley-oop pass from Holiday to Giannis Antetokounmpo in exchange for a dunk secured a wild Game 5, and the Bucks won 123-119 over the Phoenix Suns.
Pat Connaughton, a teammate, said that “it’s who it is.” He’s a winner.
The Bucks are now in a position to win for the first time since 1950.
Antetokounmpo scored 32 points, had nine rebounds, and provided six assists. Holiday added 27 points, while Khris Middleton had 29.
After battling their way out of a 16-point early hole, the Bucks won the game by making a big defensive play for the second consecutive game.
On Tuesday night in Milwaukee, they can win their first title ever since 1971.
“Obviously, we know the deal. Antetokounmpo said that he is just one game away of being the NBA champion. His postgame press conference was delayed due to dehydration.
Booker scored 40 points. This was his second consecutive game with 40-point totals. With the Suns leading by one, Booker drove to the middle of the court and Holiday grabbed the ball from his hand.
Booker stated, “I was trying to score the ball. He was behind me.” “I turned, and he was right there.”
Antetokounmpo ran down the court to his left and Holiday, rather than running the clock down, fired a perfect lob pass to Holiday that the Greek Freak hit down as Chris Paul fouled him.
Holiday stated, “Giannis ran and called for the ball.” “At that point I just threw the ball as high as possible and only Giannis could get it.”
Antetokounmpo missed a free throw, but Bucks got the rebound and Middleton made a free throw for the last point of the game.
Milwaukee’s offense was the story before the defensive stand. In the middle quarters, the Bucks took 32 of 45 shots and outscored the Suns 79 to 53.
Milwaukee was the first team to win the series on the road. Milwaukee will be the next postseason champion with one more victory.
The series has been won 21 times out of 29 by Game 5 winners in a tied series.
“We have to win one more game before we can get them on the plane again.” Monty Williams, Suns coach, said that’s all. “And you need to be determined that you are willing to do whatever it takes for them to get back on the plane.
Paul finished with 21 points and 11 assists. Deandre Ayton had 20 points and 10 rebounds. The Suns were unable to win their first championship. They will need to win at Fiserv Forum on Thursday night to return the series to the desert.
“We knew it wasn’t going be easy. It wasn’t what we expected. It’s difficult,” Paul stated. Coach said it year after year, that everything we want is on one side of hard. It doesn’t get any harder than this.
After three quarters, Milwaukee shot 62.1% and threatened to match Orlando’s 62.5% against the Lakers in Game 3. Holiday’s basket put the Bucks in good form at 108-94 with 9 minutes left, but the Suns pulled off a late push.
With just over 3 1/2 minutes left, the Suns were down 10 and Booker made a 3; Paul scored a basket to make it 120-119 with 56 seconds remaining. Holiday missed a jumper but it didn’t matter when Booker, the Bucks defensive ace, took it back.
Although it wasn’t as impressive a defensive play Antetokounmpo made blocking Ayton’s attempt to dunk, which preserved a lead of two points in Game 4, it was just as crucial for a Bucks team making their first finals appearance since 1974.
The series started off badly when the Suns lost the first two games. But things improved when the series moved. Even the name of the arena changed. The Suns announced Friday a naming rights agreement that transformed Phoenix Suns Arena into Footprint Center.
No matter what the name, the arena was so loud during Suns’ spectacular start to the first quarter that no one could hear P.J. foul. Tucker following a turnover to stop a breakaway. Booker took the ball from the Suns and threw it down to Booker. Antetokounmpo ran back and grabbed his arm, which could have resulted in a flagrant foul.
The Suns didn’t lose their momentum by not scoring that basket, as they scored seven more points to take a 32-16 advantage over Mikal Bridges’ 3-pointer. The Suns made 14 out of 19 shots (73.7%) during the first quarter, and were leading 37-21.
Booker was the first to go, and the Bucks opened the second half with a 21-5 run. Connaughton’s three-pointer made it 42.
According to Elias, Milwaukee led at halftime with a 64-61 lead.
Bucks: Milwaukee was without Thanasis Antetokounmpo. Giannis’ older brother was put in safety and health protocols. Mike Budenholzer, Coach of the Bucks, stated that they wouldn’t have all their staff for the same reason.
Suns: Paul has 1,068 assist in the playoffs. He moved ahead Steve Nash to seventh on the career list, beating Larry Bird and Larry Bird. Bridges scored 13 points.
James Williams served as the umpire. He took the place of Sean Wright, who was in the NBA’s safety and health protocols.