Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 32 points, grabbed nine rebounds, and had six assists, including a game-winning alley-oop dunk, to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a 123-119 comeback victory over the Phoenix Suns in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
After his team trailed 2-0 to start their Finals series against the Suns, the 26-year-old two-time MVP is one win from an NBA championship.
With the Final best-of-seven series now stands at 3-2, the Milwaukee Bucks can win the franchise’s first championship since 1971 at their own Fiserv Forum.
Antetokounmpo’s co-stars did an excellent job in supporting roles. Khris Middleton scored seven of his 29 points in the final 3:25 of the game, putting an end to Phoenix’s comeback attempt. Jrue Holiday chipped up with 27 points. With 16.7 seconds left in a one-point game, his third steal was a rip of Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker, and three ticks later, his 13th assist found a flying Antetokounmpo for the slam and a 122-119 lead.
For the second game in a row, Devin Booker scored 40 points in a loss. Chris Paul struggled for much of Game 5, but he scored 10 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter on 4-for-4 shooting, including a tough layup over Antetokounmpo’s outstretched arms that pulled the Suns within 120-119 just inside the final minute. Paul adds 11 assists to his total.
The Suns gradually chipped away at a Milwaukee advantage that had grown to 14 points in the final nine minutes of Game 5. Midway in the fourth quarter, Mikal Bridges and Paul hit back-to-back 3-pointers to trim the deficit to single digits. With 1:24 left, an incredibly tough Booker 3-pointer cut the Bucks’ advantage to 120-117, but a minute later, his turnover at the hands of Holiday led to Antetokounmpo’s dramatic dunk.
When Holiday committed his second foul and Booker started cooking their reserve guards midway through the first quarter, Game 5 seemed to slip away from the Bucks. The Suns had already begun an 11-game string of field goals, which was completed by a Bridges 3-pointer that increased Phoenix’s lead to 32-16. Phoenix had shot 14 of 19 from the field and 5 of 6 from three-point range towards the end of the quarter.
Milwaukee answered with a 43-point second quarter, deafening the Phoenix crowd. With Antetokounmpo on the bench, the Bucks used a 21-5 run to tie the game at 42-42 in the second quarter, which included seven straight points by Holiday. At the 6:14 mark, Antetokounmpo and Booker returned to the second quarter, and a Bobby Portis triple gave Milwaukee a 50-49 lead.
By halftime, the Bucks were blazing, leading 64-61 on 58 percent shooting from the floor and 9-for-17 marksmanship from distance. Holiday had 18 points (8-11 FG) and seven assists at halftime, while Milwaukee’s Portis and Pat Connaughton combined for five 3-pointers on eight attempts off the bench.
Midway through the third quarter, Milwaukee’s lead grew to double digits, thanks to a 7-0 run by stars Antetokounmpo, Holiday, and Khris Middleton. The Bucks were on a rampage, shooting better from the field (62%) and 3 (57%) than they were from the free-throw line (50%).
Phoenix 119 – Crowder 10, Bridges 13, Ayton 20, Booker 40, Paul 21, Johnson 6, Payne 6, Craig 3.
Milwaukee 123 – Antetokounmpo 32, Tucker 3, Lopez 9, Middleton 29, Holiday 27, Connaughton 14, Portis 9, Teague 0.
Quarters: 37-21, 24-43, 29-36, 29-23