The 26-year-old two-time MVP is one win from an NBA championship.
Giannis Antetokounmpo amassed 32 points, nine rebounds and six assists, including the game-sealing alley-oop dunk, to lead the visiting Milwaukee Bucks to a 123-119 come-from-behind Game 5 win over the Phoenix Suns in the NBA Finals. The most dominant force in the series — and probably the league — gave his team a 3-2 series lead after trailing 2-0, and Milwaukee hosts his first championship close-out chance on Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.
Antetokounmpo’s co-stars played supporting roles to perfection. Khris Middleton scored six of his 29 points in the game’s final 3:25 to suppress Phoenix’s own comeback attempt. He finished with 29 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Jrue Holiday added 27 points, 13 assists and four rebounds for Milwaukee.
Devin Booker scored 40 points in defeat for the second straight game. Chris Paul continued to struggle, both with his aggression and his typically masterful handle, and he still managed 21 points and 11 assists.
Over the final nine minutes of Game 5, the Suns slowly cut into a Milwaukee lead that had ballooned to 14 points. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Mikal Bridges and Paul cut the deficit to single digits midway through the fourth quarter. A ridiculously difficult Booker 3-pointer cut the Bucks’ lead to 120-117 with 1:24 left, but his turnover a minute later led to an Antetokounmpo dunk that sealed the outcome.
Game 5 risked slipping away from the Bucks midway through the opening quarter, when Jrue Holiday committed his second foul and Booker started cooking their reserve guards. The Suns had already started a streak of field goals that swelled to 11 straight, capped by a Mikal Bridges 3-pointer that stretched the lead to 32-16. By the time the quarter was over, Phoenix shot 14 for 19 from the field and 5 of 6 from 3.
Milwaukee countered with a 43-point second quarter that silenced a raucous Phoenix crowd. With Antetokounmpo resting, the Bucks banked a 21-5 run to start the second quarter that included seven straight points from Holiday and tied the game, 42-42. Both Antetokounmpo and Booker returned to the second quarter at the 6:14 mark, and 28 seconds later a Bobby Portis triple gave Milwaukee a 50-49 lead.
It was the Bucks who were cooking by halftime, when they led 64-61 on 58% shooting from the field and 9-for-17 marksmanship from distance. Holiday led everyone at the break with 18 points (8-11 FG) and seven assists, and Milwaukee’s Portis and Pat Connaughton poured in five 3-pointers on eight tries off the bench.
Milwaukee amped its lead to double digits midway through the third quarter, when stars Antetokounmpo, Holiday and Khris Middleton hit the Suns with another 7-0 run. It was an absolute onslaught by the Bucks, who were shooting better from the field (62%) and 3 (57%) than the were from the free-throw line (50%).
Not even Booker’s 14 third-quarter points kept Milwaukee from riding momentum into the final quarter.
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