The Bucks compiled a solid win at the Fiserv Forum to set one foot in the NBA Finals. While the Greek Freak did not suffer any structural damage following a hyperextended knee injury, he had to watch his teammates from the sidelines.
NBA Playoffs: Eastern Conference Finals
Bucks 123-112 Hawks
The void left by the absence of Giannis Antetokounpo was well handled by the Bucks entourage. Brook Lopez, Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton and Bobby Portis all had eventful outings and played their parts during the win.
Brook Lopez top-scored in the contest and went away with the highest playoff points tally of his career by notching 33 points. Meanwhile, Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton combined for 51 points on the court. Starting in place of Giannis, Booby Portis also made his mark by scoring his playoff points high by posting 22 points. This marked the first instance since 1988, that four Bucks players notched over 20 points in a playoff contest.
Returning back to the Fiserv Forum after two games, the Bucks made an electrifying start to the fixture in front of their home fans. They romped their way to a 30-10 start and eventually ended the quarter with a 14-point lead. Hawks responded well in the second quarter, but the deficit still remained at 9 points at the halfway mark.
Hawks cane the closest to matching the points tally of Bucks early in the third quarter when it was a six-point game. However, the home side did not turn back after that and ended up claiming the contest by 11 points.
Bogdan Bogdanovic top scored for the Hawks with 28 points to his name. With Trae Young’s status for Game 6 yet to be known, they have an uphill task at hand to overturn the 3-2 trail and compete in the NBA Finals.
“They punched us in the face right away, and we couldn’t find the rhythm,” said Bogdanovic. “We couldn’t find a way to stop them later on. It’s hard to chase a 20-point lead the whole game. It takes a lot of energy.”
The Bucks, on the other hand, are only a single win away from winning the Eastern Conference title. Phoenix Suns have already secured their berth in the finals after a 4-2 series win over Los Angeles Clippers.