The Phoenix Suns looked like they might run away with Game 5 of the NBA Finals in the first quarter. The Milwaukee Bucks dominated the second and third quarters. We ended up with an absolutely classic finish, with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday and company picking up the first road win of the series to go up three games to two.
The Suns trailed 102-90 entering the fourth quarter, after the Bucks dictated the middle portion of the game. Their dynamic backcourt chipped away at things, led by Devin Booker, who exploded for 40 points tonight. Booker scored five straight points as we got under two minutes left in the game, followed by a big layup by Chris Paul to cut things to 120-119.
From there, the Bucks got back to work. After a miss by Holiday, he made up for it in a huge way, with an incredible steal of Booker followed by a perfect alley-oop pass to a soaring Giannis to push the lead to 122-119.
Giannis was fouled on the play by Paul, and as the Suns fans led their raucous countdown to try and get in his head, he missed the and-one attempt. Badly. So badly, that it ricocheted straight back at him at the foul line, and with his Inspector Gadget-like arms, he tipped it back to Khris Middleton, who was fouled.
Giannis missed the free throw so bad that it made it hard for the Suns to grab the rebound: . Clutch pic.twitter.com/aYV3RMH7DT
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) July 18, 2021
Middleton hit one of two from the stripe, pushing his total for the game to 29 points and securing the game. There were times that tonight’s game looked like it might be a runaway, but instead we got an instant classic.
What a performance in Game 5 from the Bucks’ trio ‼️ pic.twitter.com/wYSBvpUl04
— ESPN (@espn) July 18, 2021
The Bucks are one win away from a championship 🔥 pic.twitter.com/WHcI0ZbELL
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) July 18, 2021
The Bucks trailed by 16 points at the end of the 1st quarter and won. This is the 2nd-largest comeback at the end of the 1st quarter in Finals history. On June 12, 2008, the Celtics trailed by 21 points at the end of the 1st quarter and won vs the Lakers. pic.twitter.com/0V64D8gv1d
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 18, 2021
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) July 18, 2021
The Bucks overpaid to make sure they could get Jrue Holiday, the best defensive PG in the league, to make sure Giannis would be there long term.
On the biggest play the franchise has had in 50 years, Jrue ripped Booker & trusted Giannis.
What an iconic moment.
— nick wright (@getnickwright) July 18, 2021
during Game 5 after the
of Suns-Bucks Suns lost pic.twitter.com/6WqdTEPO0h
— SB Nation (@SBNation) July 18, 2021
I keep thinking about how the Bucks were this close to not even moving past the Nets. https://t.co/mWCa0VLlEg
— patrick (@muldowney) July 18, 2021
Also, Game 5 is why you go out and pay a crazy amount in draft capital for a Jrue Holiday if you’re the Bucks. Draft picks come and go but banners last forever, and the chance to position yourself better to hang one of those when you have a genuine chance is all that matters.
— Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie) July 18, 2021
The Milwaukee Bucks have had their backs all the way against the wall a number of times in these playoffs. Now, they’re just one win away from capturing their second-ever championship, and first since 1971. If they get it, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s legacy launches to another tier as well.
Game 6 in Milwaukee is scheduled for Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET.