Milwaukee Bucks One Win Away From NBA Finals
It was early in Game 5 on Thursday night -- 2 minutes and 5 seconds in, to be exact -- and Jrue Holiday, open from 3, caught a wing pass from P.J. Tucker. With injured Giannis Antetokounmpo sitting on the end of the bench, the Bucks had roared into the game, the energy percolating inside Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee.
Holiday's 3 dropped, giving the Milwaukee Bucks a 10-2 lead and forcing an Atlanta Hawks timeout. It was the inverse of Tuesday's Game 4 in Atlanta, where without Trae Young, the Hawks jolted to an early 10-2 lead. And like the Hawks did then, riding the wave of an inspired roster determined to answer the call of duty to bear the burden of an absent star, the Bucks never let up.
The construction of the Bucks' roster has been a work in progress since the team realized what it had in Antetokounmpo. Refining role players and discovering hidden gems to piece together a complementary group, the Bucks have tinkered to find the right fits.
In a game in which that group had to find its own offense outside of the two-time MVP, the supporting cast complemented Antetokounmpo by filling his void to win Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals 123-112 and take a 3-2 series lead.
As with the Hawks in Game 4, the story of this series and the postseason is a war of roster attrition. As the Bucks move one win away from the Finals, with or without Antetokounmpo, they've shown that, maybe, all the pieces fit.
Listen for game-6 Saturday night on ESPN 99.1 beginning at 7:00 PM.