Chris Middleton is an All-Star player who is full of confidence in his shooting. He always believes that no matter how bad his start is, he can reverse the situation.
“Chris has no fear, he never did,” Milwaukee guard Juholidi said.
Middleton’s big shots — and Giannis Antetokounmpo’s big shots — may have reversed the course of these NBA Finals.
Middleton scored 40 points, of which the Bucks beat the Phoenix Suns 109-103 on Wednesday night with 10 consecutive points to tie the score 2-2.
“We want to be so bad, and the team proved it tonight,” Antetokounmpo said.
Middleton’s fiery hands and big blocks from Antetokounmpo gave the Bucks a second consecutive victory in the first even game of the series.
Antetokounmpo had 26 points, 14 rebounds and 8 assists. His 40 consecutive victories ended in two games, but the only important number for the Bucks is the series scoreboard.
Devin Booker scored 42 points for the Suns, but his foul problem made them lose the opportunity to build a big lead in the second half. Chris Paul struggled in a game of 13 shots and 5 shots at night, eventually scoring 10 points and 5 turnovers.
The fifth game was broadcast live on Sky Sports in Phoenix on Saturday night.
“This is a difficult game, but we must cheer up,” Paul said. “That’s why we have been fighting for home court all season.”
Phoenix led by two with two and a half minutes left, and Middleton scored the next two baskets to give Milwaukee a 101-99 lead with 1:28 left. It looked like the Suns would use a lob pass to center DeAndre Ayton to tie the score, but Antetokounmpo swooped to block the goal. When the Bucks scored in a fast break, his muscles turned The crowd behind the basket stretched out.
“That was a special moment in the NBA Finals, and we will need more players like this,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said.
Middleton missed several jumpers, but Paul lost the ball after the second jumper, he slipped and fell while dribbling. This allowed Middleton to score a layup, and then he made four free throws to rewrite the score to 107-101.
“No one gave in,” Middleton said. “We stayed.”
Brook Lopez scored 14 points for the Bucks, and Holiday had 13 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists. He made 4 of 20 shots, but his defense helped Paul eliminate the game.
Before the Middleton game, it looks like this will be Booker’s night. In the third game of the playoffs, he rebounded sharply from 3 of 14 shots in the third game with 40 points.
But he had to sit on the bench after fouling during part of the third and fourth quarters, and his teammates couldn’t handle things without him.
With their lead in the only championship team on the field, the Bucks led the playoffs at home 9-1. They are trying to overcome their 2-0 disadvantage in the playoffs for the second time.
The Suns have never won more than two wins during their two previous journeys to the NBA Finals, but it seems that they finally went there on Wednesday. Booker completed a wonderful game in the third quarter, giving them a 82-76 lead, but he received his fifth foul in less than a minute at the start of the game and sat for about five minutes.
Before he returned midway through the fourth quarter, the Bucks only narrowed their lead by three points, but Middleton ensured that they took the lead at a critical moment.
“When you get that kind of lead in the fourth quarter, if we can control the ball and get good possession, you feel like you can at least hold the ball there,” Suns coach Monty Williams said .
Antetokounmpo dominated the previous game with his offense, but the 2020 Defensive Player of the Year has achieved the most at the other end of the game.
Perhaps feeling the pressure, both teams fumbled for the ball at the beginning of the game, desperately trying to save it on the floor. The Bucks turned what seemed to be a lost ball into the basket in the first quarter, giving them a boost when their outside shooting stopped.
The Bucks performed well in the second quarter of the third game and scored a good 8-0 score midway through the game. This gave them a four-point lead, and the score remained there. The teams exchanged their leads until Middleton’s three-pointer tied the score to 52 at halftime.