Bucks move to within a game of NBA Finals with Game 5 win over Atlanta

Milwaukee got career nights from Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis to beat Atlanta in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals 123-112 Thursday night at Fiserv Forum.

Playing without two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo due to a hyperextended knee, Lopez scored a game-high 33 points, while Portis dropped in 22 points to help the Bucks take a 3-2 series lead. Both were playoff career-highs and more than complimented Khris Middleton’s 26 points and Jrue Holiday’s 25.

After coming out flat in Game 4 in Atlanta on Tuesday, Milwaukee came out flying in front of the home fans. Holiday scored seven points in the first few minutes to give the Bucks a 10-2 lead, forcing a Hawks timeout. The lead ballooned to 20 late in the quarter on a dunk by Lopez that left the crowd in a frenzy.

Atlanta never truly went away, though. It was a 14-point game at the end of the first, a 9-point game at half and it was still within shouting distance at 13 going into the final quarter. Coach Nate McMillian didn’t pull the starters until there were 52.9 seconds left and the Bucks leading by 12.

Chants of “Bucks in six” and “Bobby, Bobby, Bobby” rained down from a capacity crowd as the Bucks moved to within one game of their first NBA Finals appearance since 1974.

Middleton and Holiday also exited to loud cheers in the final minute as they stepped up without Giannis on the floor. In addition to the scoring, Middleton grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds and had eight assists, while Holiday had 13 assists and six rebounds.

The Hawks played without star guard Trae Young for a second straight game due to a deep bone bruise in his foot that he suffered in Game 3. In his absence, Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 28 points, while Danilo Gallinari had 19 points off the bench.

The series now shifts to Atlanta for Game 6 on Saturday night.