Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 32 points, including a decisive slam dunk in the dying seconds, and the Milwaukee Bucks beat Phoenix 123-119 on Saturday to move closer to winning their first NBA title since 1971.
Khris Middleton added 29 points and Jrue Holiday contributed 27 points and 13 assists for the visiting Bucks, who took a 3-2 lead in the NBA Best-of-Seven Finals with Game 6 Tuesday in Milwaukee.
As the Suns looked for a go-ahead basket in the dying seconds, Holiday stole the ball from Phoenix’s Devin Booker and passed Antetokounmpo for a slam dunk and Middleton added a final free throw to seal the Suns’ fate. .
“An away game,” Holiday said. “We can’t get too high on the horse. We know the last game is the hardest to win. We know they are going to come out and play desperately. We have to do the same. “
A seventh game, if necessary, would be played Thursday in Phoenix.
The Bucks could become only the fifth team in NBA Finals history to win the crown after losing the first two games.
The teams that won Game 5 to take the 3-2 advantage in the final won the title 72% of the time, 21 of 29 in total.
Middleton, who finished with seven rebounds and five assists, scored 11 points in the third quarter and Antetokounmpo added eight to take the Bucks past 100-90 entering the fourth.
The Bucks, who were 16 points behind after the first quarter, increased their lead to 14 points before the Suns rallied.
Booker, who scored a record 40 points, had a layup and a 3-pointer and Chris Paul followed with a layup to bring the Suns down to 120-119.
Booker bounced off a Holiday failure only for Holiday to steal and lob Greek star Antetokounmpo for the jam.
“Great time steal by Holiday and have a good time,” Antetokounmpo said. “He trusted me, threw the ball up there. It was a great Holiday game. “
Holiday, who rebounded from 4 of 20 shots in Game 4 to 12 of 20 in Game 5, knew Booker wanted the big shot.
“We knew he wanted to play ball and he wanted to shoot the last shot,” Holiday said. “He turned to me. I got the flight. Giannis was screaming it and I tossed it as high as I could.
“I want to score but that’s not the most important thing. I want to make it difficult for them defensively. “
The Bucks only need one more win to end a half-century title drought.
“We have to keep playing basketball well and hopefully we can win,” Antetokounmpo said.
Antetokounmpo, who tallied nine rebounds and six assists, said it was the game the Bucks were waiting for when their three big stars had impressive games.
“It was the game for us to start, all three of us,” he said. “It was a great game for us. We lost 16 points, we kept our cool and came back to win. “
Watching the Suns waste the big lead hurt Booker.
“We went out and did what we intended to do and let it down,” Booker said. “They stayed with it and played resiliently. Difficult loss. “
Paul had 21 points and 11 assists for Phoenix while Bahamian great man Deandre Ayton had 20 points and 10 rebounds.
– The dollars respond to the beginning of the suns –
Phoenix sank 10 straight shots and took a 27-16 lead as the Bucks committed five turnovers, tying their four-game tally, in the first eight minutes.
The Suns had 14 of 19 shots in the first quarter, increasing their lead to 37-21, Booker scoring 11 and Crowder and Ayton adding eight apiece during the period.
Milwaukee responded with a 21-5 run to open the second quarter. Holiday had nine points and Pat Connaughton scored three points to tie it at 42-42 at just 4:12 of the period.
The Bucks had 17 of 24 shots in the second quarter, taking a 64-61 lead at halftime.
© 2021 AFP