We have been saying over and over again that “a series never really begins until a team loses at home,” but the series has now officially begun! The Milwaukee Bucks went into Phoenix in Game 5 and came away with a 123-119 victory to take a 3-2 series lead and pull within one game of winning the 2021 NBA Finals.
To begin this game though, the Bucks looked like they could be in store for a rough night. The Phoenix Suns were hitting shot after shot in the opening quarter of play and they even made 11 consecutive shots at one point! Phoenix shot 14-19 (74%) from the floor in the first quarter of Game 5 and they took a commanding 37-21 lead on the Milwaukee Bucks, who looked extremely lost and out of rhythm on both ends of the floor.
However, from their first possession on offense in the second quarter, this game was all Bucks. In just over 4 minutes, the Bucks erased the Suns 16-point lead and they could not seem to miss themselves! Milwaukee shot 17-24 (70.8%) from the floor in the second quarter of play and scored 43 total points on the Suns in that quarter!
The Bucks “Big 3” of Giannis, Holiday and Middleton all had stellar performances in Game 5, but this was a great team win for the Bucks. Everybody played their role perfectly and after going down by 16 points in the first quarter, they never gave up.
Time and time again, we have seen this Milwaukee team erase leads in the playoffs and now, after trailing 2-0 in the NBA Finals, they have rattled off three straight victories and are one win away from basketball immortality.
In fact, the Bucks are just the fourth team in NBA Finals history to win three straight games after going down 2-0 in the series. The 2006 Miami Heat and the 1977 Portland Trail Blazers both went on to win the NBA Finals in six games after winning Games 3, 4 and 5, but the Fort Wayne Pistons in 1955 lost the NBA Finals in seven games.
With this series heading back to Milwaukee for Game 6 on Tuesday night and the Milwaukee Bucks controlling all the momentum in this series, it seems like this NBA Finals series is the Bucks to lose, but they are going to have to play just as hard in Game 6 if they want to close out this series because the Suns are going to fight for all 48 minutes.
Since 2000, a Game 6 has been played in 12 different NBA Finals series and not including last year’s NBA Finals in the NBA Bubble, the home team is just 6-5 in these Game 6’s, so there is definitely still a chance that the Phoenix Suns can even up this series and force a decisive Game 7 on their home court. With this said, let’s take a look at the three biggest takeaways from Game 5 in Phoenix and see what these could mean for both teams heading into a huge Game 6 in Milwaukee.