Devin Booker fell asleep during Saturday’s Game 5 of the NBA Finals. The Phoenix Suns guard gave up a crucial turnover (more like a free gift) that allowed the Milwaukee Bucks to grab the advantage and hang on to move ahead by one game in the series. The two face off again tomorrow night, and the Bucks could be ready to shut this series down if they push just a little more. If not, and the Suns win, it’s on to Game 7 and the ultimate showdown.
Bucks Advance Against the Suns
For a while, it looked like the Suns were going to move ahead 3-2 on Saturday. They started strong and took control from the beginning, leading the Bucks 37-21 after the first period. Milwaukee had something else in mind and, even as Giannis Antetokounmpo took a little breather in the second, the Bucks bounced back to even the score and stay in the game. That wasn’t enough, though, as Milwaukee launched an offensive effort that allowed them to lead by as much as 14 points in the second half, and it was now a completely different ball game.
The Suns didn’t give up, though, and made a few big plays to move to within a point. While no single player can be blamed for a team’s loss, Booker didn’t help when he essentially allowed Jrue Holiday to steal the ball in the fourth and hand it off to the Greek Freak for a basket. With that, the Bucks were up 123-119 and the writing was on the wall. Now, after 50 years, the Bucks are close to only their second championship, possibly denying the Suns their first-ever in the process.
Big Plays on Both Sides
The Holiday-Antetokounmpo connection was one of the biggest plays of the game, but both players had excellent nights. Holiday had 27 points and 13 assists, while Antetokounmpo had 32 and six. Khris Middleton added 29 points to not be left out, and the Bucks were able to claw back into the game off the performances of all three. “Obviously, we know what the deal is. It’s one game away from being the NBA champ,” said Antetokounmpo after the game.
Booker tried for the Suns, but not even his 40 points were enough. With 16 second left on the clock and a one-point deficit staring at him from the scoreboard, his miscue and Holiday’s steal were all that was needed to put the game to rest. Chris Paul wasn’t his normal self, only adding 21 points and 11 assists for the Suns, one point more than Deandre Ayton was able to muster.
Game 6 on the Line for the Suns
The team that has won Game 5 in the NBA Finals has won the championship almost 75% of the time. The Bucks have already proven they can win on the road and at home, and will be back at the Fiserv Forum for Game 6. With how well they’ve been doing, the Bucks are finally getting support from oddsmakers, who are setting them, for now, as the favorites to win. There will likely be a lot of movement between now and tomorrow, but the Bucks are at -210 against the Suns’ +175 for Game 6.
The Bucks are also getting five points (-110) on the spread, which is about average for this series. The Over/Under is currently 222 (-110) and, with everything on the line tomorrow night, it’s easy to see the final score going over. There will definitely be stronger defensive action in the game, but there will also be more aggressiveness on both sides of the ball.