The balls on Jrue Holiday to throw that alley-oop.
Yes, the steal was timely, courageous, and artful, but that alley-oop, which wasn’t even necessary, is the best play of the series so far … even better than the block.
We’ll look back on this specific play as the one that won it all if the Milwaukee Bucks are able to finish off the Phoenix Suns tonight. But if the Suns manage to steal Game 6 on the road, which would be their first road playoff victory since the Western Conference Finals closeout against the Los Angeles Clippers, we’ll forget about the Holiday steal and oop. We’ll remember whatever the Suns did in Game 6 while heading into Game 7, and if the win is driven by Chris Paul, per usual, we’ll remember that more than anything else.
Conventional thinking would suggest that the role players typically step up on their home floor, which generally is the case, which is why the Suns need to be abnormal. In their three consecutive losses, the bench has had a minimal impact. Granted, they don’t play more than eight in their rotation; those last three are very important for the eight or 22 minutes they’re each out there. In Game 3 in Milwaukee, the numbers were skewed because it was mostly a blowout, and the Bucks won 120-100.
In Game 4, the bench (Cameron Johnson, Cameron Payne, and Torrey Craig) netted 23 on an efficient 9 of 14 shooting, but only Craig was a plus on the floor. The Bucks were able to get 31 minutes from Pat Connaughton and 20 from Bobby Portis (and, sure, 11 for Jeff Teague, as well), and even though they were outscored, they managed to overcome a 4-for-20 Holiday shooting slump because he helped negate Paul, and seemingly everyone other than Booker, who had 42. The Suns technically had the better bench but needed to overcompensate for what the starters lacked, and through no fault of their own, they simply could not, allowing Milwaukee to tie the series at 2-2.
In Game 5, Connaughton and Portis alone outscored the Bucks bench 23-15 despite being on the road and did so more efficiently. The Bucks combo shot a combined 7-for-13, while the same three Suns went 6-for-14. Connaughton was able to log 33 minutes, with Portis adding 19, but for the Suns, Johnson and Payne were limited to 21 and 14, respectively. Jeff Teague logged seven minutes and was a -11, so luckily, that’s all you got from him, along with an inconsequential missed field goal attempt. Connaughton (+10) and Portis (+7) helped get the Bucks in the right direction. Along with the obvious CP3, Booker, and Ayton production required, the Suns will need a similar output from their reserves that the Bucks did in Game 5, the two Cameron’s, in particular.
The CP3 point was made earlier today, so honestly, it’s Scott Foster.
If I got that Pandemic on me everytime I come to the block, and the first 12 times I get robbed for not knowing how to stash my shit properly, why would I assume I ain’t gettin’ got on the 13th time?
It may sound like a joke, but if a dude has lost 12 straight when sharing the floor with a particular official, why would I think he’s going to break the curse now? He’ll break it when he does; I just won’t be the one to predict he will. In this instance, it’s Game 6, on the road, while nursing an injured wrist and coming off a disappointing loss in Game 5 after a 37-21 start. And now, Foster is in the mix?!? If the Suns lose, you’ll know why.
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