NBA finals 2021 Game 5: Milwaukee Bucks 123-119 Phoenix Suns – as it happened

Last modified: 04: 02 AM GMT+0

You can read the full report from tonight’s game here:

Updated

Final thoughts

Email from Gary Crawley:

Hey Hunter,

Hope you enjoyed the game.

Watching the Milwaukee fans in Milwaukee, celebrating wildly, I couldn’t help notice that there wasn’t a single mask-wearer among them. Expect a major Covid surge in Wisconsin, within the next few weeks.

Regards

Let’s hope for literally everybody’s sake, that everybody there is vaccinated. Of course, if the Bucks win one more game, there’s going to be a much bigger gathering in the city’s future.

The way that this series is going, let’s not assume that the Phoenix Suns are going to go out quietly. Chris Paul is not going to get a better chance. However long it lasts, we’ll be here to cover the 2021 NBA Finals at the Guardian. Thanks to all for following us today, especially those who helped contribute to the liveblog. Ciao!

The Bucks have a 3-2 lead in the NBA Finals

The Milwaukee Bucks now have a 3-2 lead over the Phoenix Suns in the NBA Finals. The series now goes to Milwaukee for Game 6.

Bucks 123-119 Suns, FINAL

Bucks 123-119 Suns, FINAL

Booker misses with his final shot and that will do it. The Bucks have won Game 5 on the road!

Bucks 123-119 Suns, 9.8, 4th quarter

The Suns have to foul Middleton and… he misses the first free throw he makes the second, however. Phoenix takes a timeout but it’s a four-point lead. Wow, just what a blown opportunity for the Suns!

Bucks 122-119 Suns, 9.8, 4th quarter

Holiday misses, the Suns have a chance to get the lead. Booker can’t keep ahold of the ball though! Giannis gets the ball and dunks on the other end! Giannis gets fouled don the play… and misses the free throw. Middleton gets the offensive rebound!

Bucks 120-119 Suns, 37.8, 4th quarter

Alright, Giannis has a chance to make this a two-possession game… and he fails! Paul gets to the paint and throws one up and it’s a one-point game. Bucks get the ball and can’t get anything to go, stellar defense from Phoenix, and the Bucks have to call a timeout.

Bucks 120-117 Suns, 1:09, 4th quarter

Paul fouls Giannis to put him on the line. Biggest free throws of Giannis’s career here: and he misses the first! The Suns take a timeout.

Bucks 120-117 Suns, 1:09, 4th quarter

And a crucial possession call here. Is the ball off Middleton or not... the call on the court stands, so the Bucks still have the ball. Middleton claims he was fouled here and he may not be wrong, but they can’t retroactively call that. Middleton’s shot attempt… is no good.

Booker hits a three and it’s a one-possession game!

Bucks 120-114 Suns, 1:45, 4th quarter

Just like that, the crowd gets quieted as the Bucks get a three-pointer from, of course, Middleton.

Booker hits a two-pointer here and that will keep Phoenix alive.

Bucks 117-112 Suns, 2:43, 4th quarter

Big time foul here: Middleton fouls Ayton who gets to the line and gets two points and it’s a five-point game!

Bucks 117-110 Suns, 2:53, 4th quarter

Middleton got fouled there and he downs the free throw.

The Suns need scoring quick and they get it, Paul nails a three-pointer! They’re still alive.

Bucks 116-107 Suns, 3:25, 4th quarter

Booker misses a jumper… it feels that both teams’ offenses are lagging a bit. That’s probably giving the advantage to the Bucks.

And just like that Middleton scores again.

Bucks 114-107 Suns, 4:01, 4th quarter

Giannis is to the line and makes one of two. I’d call that a success to the countdown squad in the Phoenix crowd. Bridges misses a jumper and Middleton gets the rebound. Giannis has a shot… and it doesn’t fall, Holiday makes the grab! The Bucks maintain possession but Paul blocks Holiday’s shot!

Bucks 113-107 Suns, 5:13, 4th quarter

Chris Paul scores and cuts the lead down to six.

Bucks 113-105 Suns, 5:9, 4th quarter

Nope, Ayton was called for the foul *just* before Giannis went out of bounds, so Monty Williams is going to lose his challenge here.

And yes.

The Bucks have possession but they don’t get anything from it.

Bucks 113-105 Suns, 5:44, 4th quarter

Ayton gets called for a foul, even though it looks like Giannis has stepped out of bounds before it. Phoenix head coach Monty Williams challenges it and we have a timeout to sort this out.

Bucks 113-105 Suns, 6:08, 4th quarter

And there’s Bridges, making a lot of key plays for Phoenix in this second half, hitting a three-pointer.

Bucks 113-102 Suns, 6:22, 4th quarter

Bridges steals a Middleton pass gets it to Booker who scores immediately. That feels like a momentum-changer but.. it isn’t, Giannis scores again and he collects a foul from Ayton. He hits his free throw, silencing the number-shouters.

Bucks 110-100 Suns, 7:36, 4th quarter

Out of the timeout, you’ll probably believe this, Giannis scores. It seems like every break in action leads to that. The Suns quickly give it up on the offensive end. Ick.

Bucks 108-100 Suns, 7:50, 4th quarter

Mikal Bridges tries one of those rare Phoenix threes and he makes it. Paul decides to adds one himself and it’s merely an eight-point lead and there’s still plenty of time here on the clock. The Bucks take a timeout. This could be a fun ending, folks!

Bucks 108-94 Suns, 8:51, 4th quarter

Holiday is also dishing assists here, as he finds Middleton who extends the Milwaukee lead. Booker can’t connect on his end, the Suns take advantage. Holiday adds to his point total and the Bucks are cruising.

Bucks 104-94 Suns, 9:57, 4th quarter

Paul finds Booker, who they need, and he scores and collects a fifth foul on Tucker… but Booker misses the free throw! Don’t think I’ve seen one of those in ages.

Bucks 104-92 Suns, 10:14, 4th quarter

Tucker with a miss… but Giannis gets it and lays it down and no this is not Phoenix’s ideal start at al.

Bucks 102-90 Suns, 10:28, 4th quarter

The Suns manage to maintain possession after a miss and Booker scores. Giannis misses on the other end. The crowd cheers them on… but Portis grabs a bad Paul pass and then he picks up his third foul.

This has not been the great game that the Suns needed from him.

Bucks 102-90 Suns, 11:19, 4th quarter

Giannis starts the fourth by making his first shot, that’s not going to help things for Phoenix.

The Suns attempted two three pointers that quarter, they’re going to need to do a bit better this next quarter to have a shot to win.

Bucks 100-90 Suns, end of the 3rd quarter

Ayton gets called on a foul, a questionable one, it puts Connaughton on the free throw line. He adds to his total by making both free throws. Suns have the final possession here, Booker has it… and it’s way short. It’s a ten-point deficit, but if anything we’ve learned in this game, it’s that things can change rapidly.

Bucks 98-88, Suns, 43.2, 3rd quarter

Ayton with a jumper, the Suns looking to narrow the lead down heading into the fourth.

Bucks 98-88, Suns, 50.4, 3rd quarter

Lopez gets a dunk right back but Booker, continuing to keep the Suns close, hits a layup.

Bucks 96-86, Suns, 1:49, 3rd quarter

Holiday finally misses here but he blocks Booker on the other end, so it evens out. Cam Johnson, however, takes a Lopez miss and gets Phoenix a rare three-pointer.

Bucks 96-83 Suns, 2:36, 3rd quarter

Jrue Holiday has 23 points in 27 minutes and is 10-for-13 in shooting. So, that’s a thing. Never mind, now he’s 11-for-14 and has 25 points.

Bucks 94-83 Suns, 3:09, 3rd quarter

Giannis fires off a shot. Payne gets awarded two points after a Bucks goaltend, which helps narrow down the Bucks lead. It’s enough to get them to take a timeout to calm things down here.

Bucks 92-81 Suns, 3:32, 3rd quarter

Chris Paul picks up a foul here, not great. The Suns play some solid defense here but Giannis finds a way to step back and score. On the other end, Phoenix hold on to the ball just a bit too long and get called for a turnover. This is not going great for them.

Bucks 90-81 Suns, 4:35, 3rd quarter

Connaughton with yet another three-pointer. Ayton scores in response, but Giannis counters. Ayton scores again, they’re keeping pace but they need more stops pronto.

Bucks 85-77 Suns, 5:26, 3rd quarter

Okay so, so far it’s not as been back-and-forth as I had expected. Paul hits a long jumper here, something Phoenix desperately needed.

Bucks 85-75 Suns, 5:43, 3rd quarter

Never mind, that’s the biggest Bucks lead. Middleton finds Giannis for two and the Suns have to take a timeout.

Bucks 83-75 Suns, 5:59, 3rd quarter

Bucks get back-to-back buckets. Middleton makes a layup and Holiday snatches the ball away from Booker and nails a jumper. That’s Milwaukee’s biggest lead so far.

Bucks 78-75 Suns, 7:02, 3rd quarter

Holiday gets to the perimeter and his a long two. Meanwhile, Tucker picks up his four foul and he’s yelling. That puts Booker on the line and you’ll not be surprised to hear that he makes both.

Bucks 76-73 Suns, 7:51, 3rd quarter

Middleton and Booker continue to trade blows here, three straight jumpers each. Just utterly ridiculous.

Bucks 72-69 Suns, 8:51, 3rd quarter

Booker adds to his totals for Phoenix but Lopez hits a three-pointer. Those are a huge factor in today’s game.

And here comes the see-sawing. Bridges with a layup for the Suns and Middleton answer on the other side.

Bucks 67-63 Suns, 10:35, 3rd quarter

Middleton with a three-pointer to push the Bucks ahead. I’m expecting a see-saw quarter here.

Second half begins!

Bucks 64-63 Suns, 10:44, 3rd quarter

We’re off! Booker with a jumper to cut this to a one-point game out of the shoot.

Jalen Rose with a “catch the Vapors” reference and a “rest in peace, Biz Mark.” Good for him.

The Suns were up double-digits early in game 5 vs the Bucks.

They entered today 13-0 in games where they led by 10+ points at any point, it's tied for the 4th most wins without a loss in a single postseason over the last 25 seasons. pic.twitter.com/kFzHfRundV

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 18, 2021

This would be an extremely poor time for this particular Suns run to come to an end, I think.

Email from Oscar Gutierrez:

Can someone please tell Booker to play ball and stop whining to the officials after every play. It is totally embarrassing.

Well, I mean, it got him an extra foul in Game 4 so it’s working in his favor. (No, I don’t care that it didn’t affect the game, I am still annoyed at this!)

Okay maybe you all deserve to have a bit more analysis than this. Luckily somebody else has done the numbers for me about what just happened there in the second quarter:

Bucks outscored the Suns 43-24 in the second quarter -- 17-for-24 from the field (70.8%), 6-for-9 on 3s and 3-for-3 from the line.
Jrue Holiday had 14 in the second, and Bobby Portis had nine.

— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) July 18, 2021

Halftime thoughts

HOLY HECK!!!

End of the first half

Bucks 64-61 Suns, end of the first half

Booker misses on his end. Middleton finds Giannis for an alley-oop for Milwaukee. They have a foul to give, Tucker picks up his third in what feels like a puzzling decision on their part. In the end, Paul makes a layup… but doesn’t get a foul call. The Bucks somehow have a three point lead to go into the half.

Updated

Bucks 62-59 Suns, 52.0, 2nd quarter

Giannis is back on the line and here comes the counting and the Money Man in the audience. This time, Giannis isn’t rattled: he hits both to extend the Bucks lead.

Bucks 60-59 Suns, 1:27, 2nd quarter

Cam Payne gives the Phoenix fans some pleasure with a shot that very briefly ties the game but, because this is Game 5 we’re talking about, Holiday’s jumper immediately ties things up.

Ayton dunks for Phoenix and Holiday responds and then some with a three-pointer! Bucks back up by one!

Bucks 55-55 Suns, 2:35, 2nd quarter

Some great ball movement leads to a wide-open Tucker who ties things up with a three.

@HunterFelt so, that was some comeback!?

— ablade (@ablade) July 18, 2021

This went from a potential laugher to a back-and-forth ballgame in about half-a-quarter. That’s the modern NBA for you.

Bucks 52-55 Suns, 3:26, 2nd quarter

Giannis picks up his first foul, which could be something later on, but the Suns can’t score. Connaughton misses a three-pointer, it feels like for the first time this game, so we finally have a scoring drought here… until Booker drives his way to the baskets for a layup and Milwaukee calls a timeout. That’s 15 points for Booker, having another red-hot game it seems.

Bucks 52-53 Suns, 4:08, 2nd quarter

Giannis finds Middleton for a floater. Payne tips in his own miss. Back-and-forth, back-and-forth.

Bucks 50-51 Suns, 5:07, 2nd quarter

Booker gets fouled and he gets free throws and this is officially a back-and-forth game. I guess I jinxed the whole thing right before the start of this second quarter.

Bucks 50-49 Suns, 5:46, 2nd quarter

Portis scores and draws a Crowder foul. He gets the free throw and then after a Paul miss, he gets a three-pointer on his end to give the Milwaukee Bucks an improbable lead.

Bucks 44-49 Suns, 6:37, 2nd quarter

That sparks a Suns run to untie it with Crowder making a layup and yet another three-pointer, this one is via Cam Johnson.

Middleton makes a jumper that’s immediately answered by Chris Paul. This is going back-and-forth now.

Bucks 42-42 Suns, 7:48, 2nd quarter

Middleton scores to make it a one-possession game, albeit briefly as Ayton knocks in a Johnson miss.

And just like that, Holiday hits a jumper and Connaughton the Slugger ties it with a three-pointer.

Bucks 35-40 Suns, 8:48, 2nd quarter

Ayton can’t get his own rebound so it’s another chance for the Suns. Portis with a three-pointer and it’s a five-point game. Wowsers!

I love that the new “Suicide Squad” movie is called “The Suicide Squad” because it’s trying to memory-hole the very existence of the first “Suicide Squad” movie: “That awful mess is a figment of your imagination, this is the real start of the Suicide Squad franchise.”

Bucks 32-40 Suns, 9:31, 2nd quarter

Never mind, there’s a Chris Paul three pointer.

And that it’s for Phoenix as the Bucks go back-to-back thanks to another Holiday shot and an emphatic, timeout-forcing Lopez dunk. The lead’s down to single digits.

As I said, very very early.

Bucks 28-37 Suns, 10:44, 2nd quarter

And a Holiday three-pointer and we have an official counter-punch here for Milwaukee as Phoenix are finally starting to miss on their end.

Bucks 25-37 Suns, 11:05, 2nd quarter

Holiday with a layup and that’s back-to-back Bucks buckets.

Bucks 23-37 Suns, 11:39, 2nd quarter

Brook Lopez starts the scoring in the second, which is good news for the Bucks.

Email from Ronnie King King:

Who you think going to win the game tonight

Well I said the Suns about an hour ago and nothing that’s happened has made me second guess my opinion so far.

Bucks 21-37 Suns, end of the 1st quarter

Holiday has a layup attempt and, because this is the Bucks’ first quarter, he misses. That will do it for the first quarter.

Bucks 21-37 Suns, 44.9, 1st quarter

Booker immediately scores in response. Giannis can’t hit a three on his end. Torrey Craig hits one for Phoenix and man there’s just no stopping the bleeding here in the first for Milwaukee.

Updated

Bucks 21-32 Suns, 1:51, 1st quarter

Cameron Payne hits the ground and Bobby Portis trips over him accidentally. The whole play ends up being a 24-second violation on Milwaukee. They both seem okay. On the other end, Ayton gives up the ball an Connaughton hits yet another three-pointer.

Bucks 16-32 Suns, 2:40, 1st quarter

Giannis gets fouled on a layup, which is what the Bucks needs. What he doesn’t need is this chanting nonsense, which gets into his head as much as it does mine. He misses badly.

Well, we have our first meme of the game and honestly that matters almost as much as who wins.

JVG's Money Man pic.twitter.com/CF8OWRuLHq

— CJ Fogler #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) July 18, 2021

Bucks 16-32 Suns, 3:10, 1st quarter

And there’s a goaltend charge on Giannis, which feels like it’s a decent block that the Bucks don’t challenge, so that’s two more points for Phoenix, given to Mikal Bridges. The Bucks turn it over again on their end, this is all disastrous. Bridges hits a three-pointer, that one’s all him, and Milwaukee has to call another timeout.

Well, so far I’m liking my prediction for an easy Phoenix victory but it’s very, very, very early.

Bucks 16-27 Suns, 3:44, 1st quarter

Milwaukee needs some scoring and here’s Giannis at the line… and, oh god, the crowd is counting down the seconds again. I hate this so, so much but it’s effective here, he misses both.

Bucks 16-27 Suns, 4:11, 1st quarter

Middleton gets called for a foul which puts Ayton on the line and he makes his two free throws. Bobby Portis is in the game now and… he misses a three. Just not a great start for the Bucks.

Bucks 16-25 Suns, 4:38, 1st quarter

That’s ten straight scores for Phoenix, Booker with a dunk. They almost make it eleven but Tucker gets called for a foul before another Booker dunk. (This also saves Giannis from his first foul, which would have happened after the would-be dunk.)

Bucks 16-23 Suns, 5:20, 1st quarter

Booker with another jumper. The Milwaukee defense isn’t doing its job here but the offense isn’t so bad. There’s another Giannis jumper… and then Paul finds Ayton for al alley-oop. He’s definitely cooking this time around.

Bucks 14-18 Suns, 6:17, 1st quarter

Holiday picks up a foul and here comes Jeff Teague in to take his place and, oh here’s Connaughton in for Brook Lopez. Booker makes a jumper for the Suns but Connaughton comes through on the offensive end with a three-pointer.

Bucks 11-16 Suns, 6:50, 1st quarter

Okay let’s see what the Bucks have out of the timeout. Holiday gets the ball and lays down a jumper. On the other side, Paul makes his first basket of the game.

Jae Crowder now 14-for-28 on 3s in the NBA Finals. He is 2-for-2 in Game 5.

— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) July 18, 2021

Maybe they’ve all been the Jae Crowder Game?

Bucks 9-14 Suns, 7:33, 1st quarter

This is thunderous chaos! Crowder hits a three-pointer, Booker snatches away a Middleton pass and Crowder gets the crowd going full-blast with a dunk that forces the Bucks to take an early timeout.

Everybody take notice, we might now be getting The Jae Crowder Game.

Bucks 9-9 Suns, 7:54, 1st quarter

Booker with a layup, Giannis follos through. On the other end Ayton can’t keep control of the ball, Tucker steals it, gets it to Holiday who finds Middleton who ties it up with a long-ball.

Bucks 4-7 Suns, 9:23, 1st quarter

Jae Crowder his a three for the Suns first field goal after grabbing a Middleton miss. Giannis scores for Milwaukee in response and Ayton gets a hook shot. Okay, now the shots are falling after a rough start.

Bucks 2-2 Suns, 10:19, 1st quarter

Holliday fouls Ayton, who gets Phoenix’s first points of the game.

Bucks 2-0 Suns, 10:40, 1st quarter

LeBron James had hoped to be doing more than doing publicity for “Space Jam 2” tonight, but that’s the way the NBA postseason has gone. He’s in the audience as the two teams actually still playing trade misses.

Opening Tip

Bucks 2-0 Suns, 11:35, 1st quarter

And we’re off! Jrue Holiday gets the ball first and he connects.

And you know that this is the Key Game in the series because they have hired Spike Lee to put together the Official Opening Montage.

And now we get footage of all of Chris Paul’s Game 4 turnovers. This is officially the main narrative going in, although it should also be noted that Devin Booker basically fouling out also harmed the Suns last game (the officials didn’t call that sixth foul, but he was still stymied during crunch time).

I am not going to lie, following the WNBA All-Star Game was a lot more fun than the self-congratulatory stuff going on here in the Finals Preview. It’s no fun liveblogging people saying stuff in comparison.

Phoenix Suns starters

Same thing on Phoenix’s side. Everybody knows their role at this point of the playoffs, it’s just down to execution now.

Chris Paul, PG

Devin Booker, SG

Mikal Bridges, SF

Jae Crowder, PF

Deandre Ayton, C

Milwaukee Bucks starters

Same as last time around, it seems.

Jrue Holiday, PG

JR Tucker, PF

Khris Middleton, SG

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF

Brook Lopez, C

Pat Connaughton
Notre Dame, Pitcher 2012-2014 pic.twitter.com/KfY910jgA3

— Random College Athletes (@RandomAthletess) July 18, 2021

I sometimes think that this account is not so “random.” Connaughton, of course, ended up being a key bench player for Milwaukee in Game 4: playing 32 minutes and picking up 11 points and, more notably, 9 rebounds. They could use a similar boost this time around.

“Nobody cares about your story unless you win it.” - Chris Paul

Okay, that’s a more succinct version of what I was trying to say about Giannis’s Block back in the preamble. It’s all about who ends up in the final score, trying to write these stories before the final countdown is an exercise in blind faith.

Predictions

Alright, I’m officially out of the running, having predicted Phoenix-in-Five before the start of the series because, well, we’re going at least six here. That’s just basic math.

I’m still sticking with the Suns winning here eventually but I don’t know how many games. I’ll say they win tonight, maybe by double-digits because we’re due for a not-so-close game. Hope I’m wrong though! It’s always more fun to cover these games when everything is on the line with every possession! So let me go with Suns 108-Bucks 98.

Feel free to disagree, or agree: send us your predictions either via email (to hunter.felt@theguardian.com) or Twitter (to @HunterFelt).

In any case, if we’re going to talk about one musical artist during tonight’s game it would be the Diabolical One. In preparation for Game 5, Footprint Center has blasted the late Biz Markie’s immortal “Just A Friend” before the game action.

A little @BizMarkie at the NBA Finals. R.I.P. pic.twitter.com/3FaMdPzkhX

— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) July 18, 2021

Distract him with Bob Dylan rankings!!!

— Little Pfizers Everywhere (@ElliottScribe) July 18, 2021

Sadly, only Bill Walton has the clout to ramble about Bob Dylan when he’s supposed to be talking basketball.

Outside Reality Rears Its Ugly Dead

Antetokounmpo is out thanks to the NBA’s Safety and Health Protocols! Er, that’s Thanasis Antetokounmpo and not Giannis, freaked you out there for a second, right? In any case, not great news for Milwaukee.

Bucks' Thanasis Antetokounmpo has entered health and safety protocols and is listed out for Game 5 of the NBA Finals vs. Suns.

— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 17, 2021

Oh and we’re also down an official for the very same reason.

NBA official James Williams will serve in the role of the umpire for tonight’s Game 5 of the NBA Finals, replacing Sean Wright, who is unable to officiate due to the league’s health and safety protocols.

— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) July 17, 2021

Maybe it’s time to return to the Bubble?

Preamble

Sometimes when writing these liveblogs, you’re so fixated on getting the details right (who’s currently winning, the current score, the players who just scored, which player is red hot and who can’t buy a shot, etc.) that the key moments of the game don’t even register at the time. Looking back at Thursday’s Game 4 liveblog, it’s clear that Giannis Antetokounmpo’s game-changing block (quickly labeled “the greatest block in NBA history” by some who quite likely are getting just a little bit ahead of themselves) was just barely recorded here as “Giannis gets a huge block on the other end.”

Well, here’s the thing about moments like this: for the most part they aren’t really imprinted into historical memory unless they’re pulled off by the winning team. Right now? Well, right now that’s very much all in the air. After putting themselves in the driver’s seat by taking a 2-0 Finals lead, the Suns dropped their next two against the Milwaukee Bucks, thanks in no small part to the fact that Giannis has been absolutely dominant on both ends. Now, it’s all even up after four, meaning this has been reduced to a three-game series.

One of the key reasons that the Suns struggled in Game 4 was that Chris Paul shot 5-for-13 and had a number of turnovers, including an absolute howler that essentially allowed Milwaukee to hold on to their victory. It’s led to speculation that his hand injury is affecting him more than anybody is willing to admit. Given how teams dislike handing over such information to opposing teams, we likely won’t find out exactly how healthy anybody is until after the series is over.

The good news is that we’re now going to get at least six games in what is shaping up to be a very exciting Finals. It’s also looking like the concern that the lack of the big-name franchises would harm the viewing numbers was at least somewhat overblown. It’s almost like great basketball is great basketball even if it doesn’t involve LeBron James or Steph Curry. If the first four games are any indication, we should have another exciting game on our hands. If you want to contribute to this liveblog, as always you can either email us (to hunter.felt.freelance@theguardian.com) or tweet us (to @HunterFelt) and we’ll use your commentary throughout. It’s Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns! We’re scheduled to start shortly after 9:00 pm EST, but this blog will be back well before then.

Hunter will be here shortly. In the meantime, here’s Andrew Lawrence on the man leading the Suns:

Time has not been kind to the Phoenix Suns. Seven days ago they appeared to be on an inexorable march toward their first championship in franchise history while slapping the Milwaukee Bucks with double-digits losses and reducing Giannis Antetokounmpo to a one-man band. But since the series migrated from Phoenix to Milwaukee, the home team hasn’t just come alive behind Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez and other supporting players; the Greek has been at his freakiest – pouring in a combined 61 points (on 60% shooting), 27 rebounds and a lead-preserving block in Game 4.

Now a pivotal Game 5 looms on Saturday in Phoenix with the series tied at 2-2. The Bucks have all the momentum, while the home team could well slide into an irrecoverable position if the visitors should manage to steal one on the road, given the 82% rate at which Game 5 victors go on to take the whole chalupa. With their season at a dark hour, the Suns suddenly find themselves backpedaling toward the wall. But if there’s anyone who can get them moving forward again, it’s Monty Williams.

To read the full article, click below:

Contributor

Hunter Felt

The GuardianTramp

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Rolling report: The Milwaukee Bucks took down the Suns to clinch their first title in 50 years with a Game 6 win over the Phoenix Suns

Hunter Felt

21, Jul, 2021 @4:02 AM

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Freak out! Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 50 power Milwaukee Bucks to first NBA title since 1971
Giannis Antetokounmpo ended one of the greatest NBA finals ever with 50 points and a championship Milwaukee waited 50 years to win again

Agencies

21, Jul, 2021 @6:49 AM

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The Suns are in trouble but Monty Williams knows what true darkness is
Phoenix have taken a battering by Milwaukee in the last two games of the NBA finals. But their coach has overcome grief and adversity to get here

Andrew Lawrence

17, Jul, 2021 @9:23 AM