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Milwaukee Bucks Roar Back In Game Five, One Game Away From NBA Championship

Milwaukee Bucks Roar Back In Game Five, One Game Away From NBA Championship

Those that have managed to win an NBA championship inevitably will point to one common theme — adversity. 

From the “Bad Boys” Pistons, to Michael Jordan’s Bulls, all champions will at one point or another have faced years of attempting to get over the hump. TAnd if the Milwaukee Bucks can win more game, the years of playoff failures — the adversity — will have all been worth it in pursuit of an NBA title. 

Milwaukee overcame a 16-point first quarter deficit Saturday night, clipping the Suns 123-119 to take a 3-2 lead in the NBA Finals, putting them one win away from the organization’s first championship in 50 years. 

“I think fighting through adversity, the last few years, obviously which I’ve said a few times, we were the best team in the league during the regular season, and when adversity hit in the playoffs, we weren’t able to really get through it,” Bucks guard Pat Connaughton said after the game “I think this year we learned from some adversity that hit in the regular season. And throughout these playoffs, when adversity has hit, whether it be over the course of a series or over the course of an individual game, a quarter, whatever it might be, we’ve come together even stronger.”“We’ve had each other’s backs even more and made sure that we’ve made the plays together, both offensively and defensively,” Connaughton continued. “I think that’s what championship-caliber basketball is all about. It’s about having each other’s backs. Adversity is going to hit at some point, but how do you respond to it? How do you respond to it individually and how do you respond to it collectively to try to put us in a position to win?”

Down 2-0 just a few days ago, the Bucks looked finished. After losing the first two games of the Finals on the road, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s supporting didn’t look to be enough. Jrue Holiday couldn’t shoot, and Khris Middleton didn’t attempt a single free-throw in Phoenix. But it was Antetokounmpo’s teammates that brought Milwaukee back Saturday night.  

The Bucks outscored Phoenix by 13 in the second quarter with Antetokounmpo on the bench, taking a three-point lead into halftime. 

“I think Coach has a feel for it every game,” Connaughton said. “We have lineups that are in rhythm and making runs, and he kind of lets us ride. Oftentimes Giannis is in the game for those runs, but it just shows that we’ve got a true team and we have Giannis’ back just like he has our back. We’re moving the ball. We were playing defense. We were doing things that Bucks basketball does, so it doesn’t really matter who is on the floor for it.” 

It’s been someone different in every Milwaukee win so far this Finals. Antetokounmpo had 41 points in the Bucks game three win, Middleton put up 40 in Wednesday night’s game four classic, and it was Holiday on Saturday night. 

After shooting just 33.3% from the field in the first four games, it was Holiday who became the latest Bucks hero. 

“I feel like at the end of the day, whatever I can do to help my team is most important,” Holiday said. “I went 4-for-20 the game before and we still won and I know I can do other things to affect the game. I know when my shot is going and I’m trying to make plays for others, it is definitely an added bonus.”

Holiday scored 14 of his 27 points in the second quarter to lead Milwaukee’s comeback, but it was his play on the defensive side of the ball that sealed the victory. 

With the Bucks up one in the fourth, and the red-hot Devin Booker looking for the dagger, Holiday ripped the ball away from Booker with just under 20 seconds left. As he considered taking time off the clock, Holiday saw Antetokounmpo calling for the lob as streaked down the court. The rest will go down in Bucks history. 


“He’s an incredible defender, strong hands and got in there and took it,” Budenholzer said. “I think most times you just want to pull it out and run the clock. But Jrue and Giannis in a two-on-one, just to put two points on the board. I think just trusting their instincts, trusting them. Giannis getting a bucket and putting us up (three points). They’re playing, they’re competing. That’s what we need.”

It was a crushing loss for Phoenix, who now must pick up the pieces and win on the road in order to force a game seven. 

“We got to win one game to put them back on the plane,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “That’s it. And you have to have that determination that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to put them back on the plane.”

Suns point guard Chris Paul was able to bounce back from an awful game four, putting up 21 points and 11 assists in game five. But no amount of stats will matter unless Phoenix is able to force a game seven. 

“We knew this wasn’t going to be easy,” said Paul. “We didn’t expect it to be. It’s hard. Coach said it all year long: Everything we want is on the other side of hard, and it don’t get no harder than this.”

“So, we got to regroup, learn from this game. But it’s over. We got to get ready for Game 6.”

Milwaukee has fought through it all. From being bounced early from the playoffs the last two years, to almost losing Antetokounmpo to a scary knee injury in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Bucks have battled through all the adversity and now can see the finish line. 

“Going home to our fans, going home to Milwaukee is a great opportunity for us,” Budenholzer said. “But you have to go out and play. It’s at this point, you could feel it tonight, the high-level basketball on both sides of it. It’s going to be the same in Game 6. Both teams are going to come out, expect really, really good basketball. We’re going to have to compete defensively and we’re going to have to make plays, play together. It’s more about that.”

Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to sports@dailywire.com.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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