By BRIAN MAHONEY AP basketball writer
Milwaukee — High outside the Fiserv Forum, well beyond the reach of the jumping Janis Adetokumpo, flaunting Bucks’ post-season motto.
Signs and situations that can no longer be ignored, labeled “HISTORY IN THE MAKING”.
Still, that’s exactly what Bucks is trying to do.
They can certainly make history on Tuesday night as Milwalky’s first NBA champion since 1971. But Bucks has to resist thinking about what would happen if he defeated Phoenix Suns in Game 6.
“It’s difficult because you work so hard to be at that moment tomorrow,” Antetokunpo said on Monday. “It’s hard to stay ahead of yourself, but this is when you have to be the most trained.”
Bucks won the last three games and established a potential party in 50 years.
With an estimated 17,000 fans in the arena, Bucks announced on Monday that the Deer district was expanded to allow up to 65,000 fans to stand side by side outdoors. The sidewalks around the arena are lined with barricades, and restaurants within walking distance are looking at ways for employees to get in and out of work in the expected crowd.
Played during the coronavirus pandemic was a scene that couldn’t have happened much of the season. Bucks began allowing a limited number of fans to the game in February, almost two months after the season began. Even when post-season play began in May, capacity was limited to 9,100, just over 50%.
Whatever the numbers on Tuesday, it makes a lot of noise when Bucks lifts the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
“But we needed to focus and work,” said Antetokunpo. “Then they can do the last celebrating job, but we had to do the first job.”
The sun is also excited.
Chris Paul said he felt that way despite facing a defeat with a 2-0 lead for the first time this postseason.
“What the coach and everyone are saying: If you go early in the season and say you have a chance to be where we are now, do you take it? Absolutely,” Paul said. ..
“And we have the opportunity to determine the outcome. It’s not like the game is simulated or someone else has to play. There is a chance. We control our destiny. So I think that’s the exciting part. “
If Sands wins on Tuesday, he will return the series to Phoenix on Thursday and take part in Round 7, where the winner wins everything.
To do that, you need to call for the fight shown in Game 5 when Bucks scored 79 points in the second and third quarters to open the double and then gave him a chance to win in the last few seconds. Number lead.
When Jrue Holiday stripped Devin Booker and fired an Alley-oop pass at Antetokounmpo, the comeback was inadequate, but Suns coach Monty Williams saw more resilience needed than ever before.
“It’s something that stabbed me so that we could cut it into one point, and it gives the staff and team a lot of confidence when entering Game 6,” Williams said. Told.
Booker scored 40 points in two consecutive games. This was an early Antetokunpo in the series, and only the other five players did it in the NBA Finals. Starguard said he still had to get better in Game 6.
“We all know what’s at stake and what’s at stake,” Booker said. “We didn’t do enough, so everyone will need to give a little more.”
Just two years ago, Bucks had the league’s best record and won two wins from the first NBA Finals since 1974 before losing a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals with Toronto.
That disappointment helped build a backsteam that wouldn’t shake when it went down. Milwaukee was 2-0 behind Brooklyn in the second round and is now winning away from overcoming the deficit again.
Bucks has finished all three series of this postseason on the street. Now they have the chance to get the biggest of their buildings. I know it can never be easier than any other clincher.
“It’s interesting. I want to treat it like any other game, but at the same time what it is. It’s the final match of the final,” said Brook Lopez of the Center. “But from other experiences in the playoffs, I think we can definitely take.
“And one thing you know is that when you look at all of them, obviously no other team rolls over and stops playing. They fight until the last second. I’m going. You have to be ready to come out in the best possible condition. “
Sands faced the elimination game for the first time this postseason and lost three games in a row for the first time since January.
Deandre Ayton of the Suns Center said there was nothing to do other than accepting the current scenario.
“The table has changed now,” Eighton said. “Now we are a desperate team. We had a chance to get up and try to get the job done, now we are in the same position as they were. They got up and now We have to get it, so it’s a little more fun. “
According to the numbers, Sands performed very well in Game 5. I shot 55% from the field, 68% with 3 pointers, and 91% with free throws.
However, Sands is at its best when sharing basketball in an attack and hits the ball around to find the Openman. Without many defensive stops, attacks were often deadlocked and overly reliant on half-court set bookers. Their 19 3-point attempts were far less than the usual 34 per game during the regular season.
Booker said the Sands attack could be felt to be the third stagnant.
“We were exchanging baskets for baskets and I think it’s been five minutes in a row,” Booker said. “But when we stop and enter the transition, we’re doing our best. I always say I’m wearing a hat on the defensive side, and that’s where we have to be better.”
Sands demonstrates the ability to handle less than ideal postseason situations. Paul injured his shoulder in the first round with the Lakers and wasn’t very effective in the next few games.
Paul also missed the first two games of the Western Conference final against the Clippers because he was included in the League’s COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocol. Sands still won both games.
Now, the biggest test ever is coming. Bucks’ Ante Tokunpo, Holiday and Khris Middleton’s Big Three are playing the best basketball of the season, and Sands has to find a way to beat them twice.
Game 6 will be introduced first.
“One at a time,” Booker said. “Our focus is now on Milwaukee. That’s how we do these series in one game at a time.”
Williams said Monday that he showed the same spirit that helped Sands reach so far in his first playoff appearance since 2010.
“When I boarded the plane yesterday, their eyes looked the same,” Williams said. “When I came down for a meeting this morning, everyone was talking over breakfast. It was pretty cool to see, so such a loss is difficult, but do something big. If you intend, you must overcome such difficulties.
“I don’t know if the team that won the championship just took a short walk, so we guys talked about it. There’s a deep playoff and the ability to recover from it hurts.”
The big difference between Phoenix and Milwaukee is that Bucks has experienced a lot of recent playoff broken hearts.
Milwaukee was the league’s top seed in 2019 and 2020, but failed to reach the finals in either year. Paul and Jae Crowder have a lot of playoff experience, but teammates such as Booker, Ayton and Mikal Bridges made their postseason debut this year.
“The message is to be together, fight all your possessions, and accept where you are,” Crowder said.
Sands faces the enviable challenge of having to win in Milwaukee, where Bucks holds the post-season record of 9-1. Sands set the NBA’s best 24-12 road records in the regular season, including a win in Milwaukee, and is 6-4 away from home in these playoffs.
This gives Sands the confidence to bounce off a defeat as painful as the 123-119 Game 5 defeat.
“You probably don’t know that we lost the game, Game 5 at home, probably after losing in the locker room the next morning,” Eighton said. “As you know, it’s insane because how we walk and everyone is full of spirit and energy.”
Rivals to teammates
Booker is competing for the NBA title with Milwaukee Holiday and Middleton, but when he heads to Tokyo to join Team USA for the Olympics, he becomes a teammate as soon as the finals are over.
“I think we’re okay,” Middleton said. “For now, we haven’t spoken to each other. I’m sure we’re not the best companions during Team USA, but we’ll certainly be teammates. We’re on the same path. Walk, talk about basketball X and O, and try to get the job done. It’s not just about being a competitor, it’s about being a teammate. “
“Unless you cross the border, it’s never personal who you go with,” Booker said. “I never go with them because they are not that type and they have a high level of respect for each other. That’s why I think we are in our current position.”
Hey i know the guy
Antetokunpo said he noticed Lakers star LeBron James sitting on the courtside of Game 5, but didn’t talk to him.
“It doesn’t matter who is sitting on the courtside, it doesn’t matter while I’m playing,” said Antetokunpo. “I’m trying to focus as much as I can. But this is crazy. This is a great story. This is not a promotion. I was watching” Space Jam “at HBO the night before. I was watching “Space Jam”, where he goes to the courtyard seats. “
James is the star of “Space Jam: The New Legacy,” which premiered over the weekend.
Sands built a 2-0 lead, averaging 37 3-point attempts in the first two games of the final. This has fallen to an attempt of 24.33 points in the last three games.
Phoenix won 19-13 across the arc of Game 5.
“I think we need to generate an additional 3 given the ability of the team and the shooters on this team,” Booker said. “Obviously, they’re making a lot of switches and are at home in shooters, so there’s a way to figure it out.”
Bucks try to focus on closing out Suns in Game 6 – Press Telegram Source link Bucks try to focus on closing out Suns in Game 6 – Press Telegram