Bucks big three dominant and now just a game away from an NBA title

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Even as the Milwaukee Bucks were punching their way back into this Finals with a pair of home court wins, the cry was deafening: “Giannis needs more help.”


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Khris Middleton answered some of those pleas with a 40-point night in Game 4, but there was still the matter of Jrue Holiday.

As good as he’s been defensively hounding Chris Paul throughout the series, Holiday was brought in not just for his defence but to take some of the pressure of Antetokounmpo offensively.

Holiday, like Middleton the game prior, answered those pleas with a monster Game 5.

It didn’t start out so well for Holiday who picked up two early fouls and had to sit down early.

When the Suns went on a run, Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer rolled the dice and brought him back early.

The gamble paid off as Holiday’s return restored a semblance of defence and Holiday, who made his first two shots started to get rolling again.


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He would score 14 in that second quarter on his way to a  27-point night to go along with his 12 assists.

It was more than enough support for Antetokounmp who had 32 when you combine it with the 29 the Bucks got from Middleton as the Bucks took a 3-2 series lead with a 123-119 win.

But that wasn’t even Holiday’s biggest contribution to the night.

That came in the final 20 seconds with the Suns seemingly on the verge of stealing this one back from the Bucks.

The Suns had clawed their way back from a 14-point deficit to get to within a point of the lead.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo was at the line and despite a decent night there badly missed both sending the Suns the other way with a chance to take the lead.

Holiday stripped Devin Booker at the top of the key and then hit a hard-charging Giannis Antetokounmpo for the lob on the run.


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Antetokounmpo was fouled on the dunk and while he didn’t make the extra, the Bucks corralled the rebound forcing the Suns to foul again, this time Middleton.

Middleton missed the first but made the second putting the Suns in a four-point deficit they could escape from.

Holiday was the Bucks No. 1 target in the off-season and that acquisition paid off in the biggest possible way at the most important possible time.

Booker wound end up with yet another 40-point night in Game 5 but it wasn’t enough as the Bucks big three were just too much.

Both teams had their shot at taking control of this one early on.

In the first half it was all Suns as they built a 16-point lead by the end of the quarter as they got Jrue Holiday off the floor with some early foul trouble and then roasted the Bucks defence led by Booker’s 11 points.


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When Booker wasn’t hitting, natural hype-machine Jae Crowder was doing the job hitting from the outside as his steady contributions from behind the three-point arc continued with two more in an eight-point quarter for him.

Ironically it wasn’t until Antetokounmpo sat down for a rest in the second quarter that the Bucks caught fire.

With the Greek Freak on the bench for the first six minutes, the Bucks went on a 25-12 run to get right back on even terms.

When Antetokounmpo returned the barrage continued as the Bucks turned that 16-point deficit into a three point lead by halftime.

They are just the second time in NBA Finals history to turn a deficit of 15 or more into a lead by the half. The last and only other time it happened came in the 1957 Finals when the Boston Celtics came back on the St. Louis Hawks.

The saying in sports is a series hasn’t really begun until a team wins a road game. Consider this series underway.

The Bucks head home with a chance to win the title Tuesday night.

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