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The Bucks are approaching the NBA title, surpassing the Suns

Giannis Antetokounmpo # 34 of the Milwaukee Bucks celebrates a win against the Phoenix Suns with teammates in the fifth game of the NBA Finals at Footprint Center on July 17, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. Christian Petersen / Getty Images / AFP

Giannis Antetokounmpo collected 32 points and nine rebounds to fuel the Milwaukee Bucks on a visit to a 123-119 win over the Phoenix Suns on Saturday in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

Khris Middleton added 29 points for the Bucks, who shot a staggering 57.5% off the floor to win their third straight game and take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. Milwaukee can clinch its second NBA title in franchise history and its first since 1971 when it returns home for Game 6 on Tuesday.

Jrue Holiday collected 27 points and 13 assists to recover from a poor 4-for-20 performance from the floor in Game 4. He also had a key theft of Devin Booker in the waning moments of the fourth quarter to counter a late Phoenix comeback offer .

The Bucks overcame an initial 16-point deficit with a 43-point eruption in the second quarter.

Milwaukee became the second team in NBA Finals history to lead at half-time after trailing 15 points after the first quarter. The Boston Celtics had already accomplished the feat in the 1957 finals against the St. Louis Hawks.

Booker scored 40 points in a losing effort. He scored the fourth time he has reached the 40-point plateau this postseason.

Chris Paul finished with 21 points and 11 assists and Deandre Ayton had 20 points and 10 rebounds for Phoenix.

The Suns cut a 10-point deficit to start the fourth quarter to three points after Booker drained a triple. Antetokounmpo missed both free-throw attempts on the next possession and Paul made a driving layup to reduce Milwaukee’s lead to 120-119 with 56.6 seconds remaining.

Holiday stole the ball from Booker and set Antetokounmpo for an alley-oop with 13.5 seconds left. Antetokounmpo missed the next free throw, but Milwaukee regained possession and Phoenix fouled Middleton. He made one of two attempts to make it a two-possession game.

The Suns were on fire from the start, making 14 shots for 19 from the field and 5 shots for 6 from distance by 3 points to take the lead of 37-21 after the first quarter.

The Bucks responded with a run of 29-12 to start the second quarter. Bobby Portis ended the wave with a triple to give Milwaukee a 50-49 lead.


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