The Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Atlanta Hawks 123-112 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals to take a 3-2 series lead.
Four Atlanta starters scored 20+ points on Thursday night led by Brook Lopez who had a playoff career-high 33 points.
Milwaukee is now a -475 betting favorite to win the series and a +170 to win the NBA championship.
With Giannis Antetokounmpo sidelined due to a knee injury, the Milwaukee Bucks needed a team effort to win Game 5 and they got just that, and the win that put them within one win away from their first NBA Finals appearance since 1974.
Four out of five Milwaukee starters scored at least 20 points, including Bobby Portis who had 22 with 8 boards while starting in Giannis’ place. Khris Middleton scored 26 points with 13 rebounds and 8 assists while Jrue Holiday added 25 points with 13 assists and six rebounds.
However it was center Brook Lopez who stepped up biggest by putting up Greek Freak-ish numbers on Thursday night.
Huge Game 5
Brook Lopez had a HUGE Game 5. 💪
33 PTS (#NBAPlayoffs career high)
4 BLK@Bucks can advance to the #NBAFinals presented by YouTube TV with a win on Saturday at 8:30 PM ET on TNT! #ThatsGame pic.twitter.com/LXa45ci4pF
— NBA (@NBA) July 2, 2021
Lopez stepped up without Giannis in Game 5. The 33-year old 10th pick of the 2008 NBA Draft finished the game with a playoff career-high 33 points, 7 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 2 steals and shot 14-18 from the field in 38 minutes of action.
His 77.8% field goal percentage is the 4th best FG% in a 30-point game by a Bucks player in the playoffs. His 26 points in the paint are also tied with Antetokounmpo for the 2nd most points in the paint by a Bucks player in a playoff game over the last 25 postseasons.
But while some were surprised at Lopez putting up big time scoring numbers, those people probably don’t know that he is the all-time leading scorer in Brooklyn Nets history. Yes, Lopez played nine seasons for the Nets who drafted him in 2008. He had four 20-point seasons and a 2013 All-Star selection while playing for the Nets.
Bucks Title Odds Shorten After Game 5 Win
Odds to win NBA Championship (@BetMGM)
Before Bucks-Hawks Game 5:
• Suns -190
• Bucks +280
• Hawks +700
• Suns -160
• Bucks +170
• Hawks +1300
— John Ewing (@johnewing) July 2, 2021
The Bucks’ odds changed drastically after Giannis Antetokounmpo went down with a knee injury in Game 4. Before his injury, Milwaukee was a -1600 to win the Eastern Conference. But after he hyperextended his left knee, the Bucks dropped to a -125 at BetMGM. But after the Bucks took Game 5, they are now a -475 to win the East at the BetOnline App.
Milwaukee’s championship odds also shortened after taking a 3-2 series lead over the Hawks on Thursday night. The Bucks were a +280 behind the Suns before Game 5 with the Suns listed at -190. Milwaukee has now narrowed the gap between them and Phoenix at -160 for the Suns and +170 for them.
There are reports that Trae Young is targeting to return in the next game, which will be played in Atlanta and it’s still unclear if Giannis can return in Game 6. But if Milwaukee’s starters continue to step up, then the Hawks are going to have a tough Game 6 ahead of them, even with Trae Young.