With or without Giannis Antetokounmpo, Chris Middleton has become the patron of the Bucks

Just last month, the Bucks found themselves on the verge of elimination after being burned by Nets star Kevin Durant in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Milwaukee is a life-or-death in Game 6, and losing to Brooklyn, which is plagued by injuries, may have a serious and far-reaching impact on the team.

At the most important moment of the season, who do the Bucks turn to for help? Not to the two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, although he still performed well in the series. Chris Middleton stepped forward and took control of the situation at the most important time. Become at 29 The steady strength Milwaukee needed in that game, And he did it again in Game 7, knocking out the Nets and sending the Bucks to the next round.

more: The complete schedule of the 2021 NBA Finals

Therefore, when Antetokounmpo suffered a tragic fall in the game against the Eagles and then overextended his left knee to the ground, Middleton’s performance in the Eastern Conference finals should not be surprising. Middleton scored a game-high 32 points in Milwaukee’s 118-107 victory over Atlanta on Saturday night, helping the Bucks reach the NBA Finals for the first time since 1974. He scored 23 points in the third quarter alone, giving his team enough cushion to withstand the Eagles’ late surge.

“My teammates and coaches, they told me to stay aggressive,” Middleton says He broke out in the third quarter. “One of the coaches always told me to pass the ball to the basket instead of making a mistake. Shoot the ball, be confident, and try to play the ball the right way.”

This is Middleton’s close to a triple-double in the last game against the Eagles. In the last two games of the Bucks’ last two series, Middleton averaged 29.8 points, 9.3 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game, shooting 47.6/41.9/92.9 (shooting percentage/three-pointers) / Free throw percentage).

game Temporary worker REB AST FG-FGA 3PT-3PTA Free trade agreement
Game 6 against the Nets 38 10 5 11-16 5-8 11-12
Game 7 against the Nets twenty three 10 6 9-26 2-7 3-3
Game 5 against the Eagles 26 13 8 10-20 2-6 4-5
Game 6 against the Eagles 32 4 7 10-22 4-10 8-8

“At the end of the day, Chris was carrying us,” Bucks guard Jue Holiday says After the 6th game. “He put us on his shoulders. I entered the finals with him.”

Milwaukee has fallen into a gray area in an era when the NBA debate often revolves around stars becoming the first choice and having the “clutch gene.” Antetokounmpo is clearly the best player on the team, the two-way monster at the center of all the Bucks’ actions-until the game becomes tense.Then it’s time for Middleton to shine, the truth is Antetokounmpo has even recognized.

Whether Antetokounmpo can participate in the finals against the Suns or sit on the bench due to a knee injury, the ball will continue to fall into Middleton’s capable hands. If you ask any of Middleton’s teammates, that should be correct.

“What he did—his calm, calm, calm nature—to see him put himself in the type of series and playoffs he had was great,” Bucks guard Pat Connaughton says“Because we have all seen the time he put in, but for the world to see, it’s great for him. As someone who has been with him for three years, seeing him have this moment and seeing him continue Moving forward, I feel very happy to show why he is an All-Star and why he is the second best player on the championship team.

“He can be that, he is that.”



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