In a year in which injuries are taking precedence with the league’s stars (Jamal Murray, Jaylen Brown, Anthony Davis, Mike Conley, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard …) it is even logical what has past tonight. In Game 5 of the Eastern Final between Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks Nor were the top two players, one per head: Giannis Antetokounmpo and Trae Young. So the flag of excellence was taken by a worker, a soldier who has lived in the NBA for a life and a half and today has lived one of the great moments of his career. Brook Lopez, with his 33 points (best mark in playoffs), leaves his team to a victory of the NBA Finals.
Unlike what had happened in the two previous duels in Atlanta, the Bucks went out to kill. Because in the third, which ended up winning, they were quickly 15 down, while in the fourth they were never ahead on the scoreboard. Just what happened last night, but in reverse. This time they were the Hawks who were overwhelmed by the energy and desire of the rival and never took the lead. The part of the first quarter (36-22) was decisive. The paint dominance by the Bucks, obscene. The Atlanta team didn’t get their first defensive rebound until the 8th minute of the game. Among other things because his rival was correct more than he failed, but also because they let themselves eat the toast over and over again under their basket, in the same way as under that of the rival. In the first quarter, in which the Bucks got to be leading by 20 points, the difference in the paint was 28-8, which lasted until the final 66-36.
Lopez’s party is a paradigm of all this. A player used in recent times to seek the outside shot, in the fashion of the modern pivot, He only shot twice out of three and got none … And yet he still posted his best score in a title playoff game. Antetokounmpo’s absence forced him to play much more inside and he passed the exam with flying colors. The same as the rest of the Greek’s lieutenants, who went above 20 points. Khris Middleton with 26, 13 rebounds and 8 assists, and Jrue Holiday with 25, 6 and 13. And not least was the replacement for Giannis in the starting five, Bobby Portis, who went to 22 points and 8 rejects and who heard how the Fiserv Forum stands chanted his name.
Tomorrow night, game six in Atlanta. Trae Young’s participation “will be taken before the game,” Nate McMillan said, while Antetokounmpo has no status update. Tonight he was sitting on the bench and hours before he had worked alone in the gym, although the intensity and type of exercise he did is unknown. What is clear is that today the Hawks are in a greater hurry than the Bucks to recover their star. Because those of MIlwaukee, after several seasons as a favorite that crashed before the final battle, this time yes He is one step away from what would be his first NBA Finals since 1974. Almost nothing.