Basketball world erupts over Giannis' 'incredible' NBA Finals act

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Giannis' game-clinching alley-oop for the Bucks was the standout moment in a gripping game 5 against the Phoenix Suns. Pic: Getty
Giannis' game-clinching alley-oop for the Bucks was the standout moment in a gripping game 5 against the Phoenix Suns. Pic: Getty

Milwaukee superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo has left the basketball world gobsmacked with another epic NBA Finals performance that leaves him and the Bucks just won win away from sealing the championship.

The 26-year-old two-time MVP amassed 32 points, nine rebounds and six assists, including a game-sealing alley-oop dunk, to lead the visiting Bucks to a wild 123-119 come-from-behind Game 5 win over the Phoenix Suns.

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The Bucks can win the franchise's first championship since 1971 when they next square off against the Suns on Wednesday on their home court.

Antetokounmpo's co-stars played supporting roles to perfection. Khris Middleton scored seven of his 29 points in the game's final 3:25 to suppress Phoenix's own comeback attempt. 

Jrue Holiday added 27 points. His third steal was a rip of Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker with 16.7 seconds in a one-point game, and three seconds later his 13th assist found a soaring Antetokounmpo for the dunk and a 122-119 lead.

The extraordinary game-clinching play proved the standout moment of an enthralling Game 5, as the basketball world hailed Bucks megastar, Giannis.

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Devin Booker scored 40 points in defeat for the second straight game, while Chris Paul continued to struggle, both with his aggression and his typically masterful handle.

He still managed 21 points and 11 assists for the Suns.

Over the final nine minutes of Game 5, Phoenix slowly cut into a Milwaukee lead that had ballooned to 14 points. 

Back-to-back 3-pointers from Mikal Bridges and Paul cut the deficit to single digits midway through the fourth quarter. 

Holiday fires up after slow start for Bucks

A ridiculously difficult Booker 3-pointer slashed the Bucks' lead to 120-117 with 1:24 left, but his turnover at the hands of Holiday a minute later led to Antetokounmpo's clutch alley-oop dunk. 

Game 5 risked slipping away from the Bucks midway through the opening quarter, when Jrue Holiday committed his second foul and Booker started cooking their reserve guards. 

The Suns had already started a streak of field goals that swelled to 11 straight, capped by a Mikal Bridges 3-pointer that stretched the lead to 32-16. By the time the quarter was over, Phoenix shot 14 for 19 from the field and 5 of 6 from 3.

Milwaukee countered with a 43-point second quarter that silenced a raucous Phoenix crowd. With Antetokounmpo resting, the Bucks banked a 21-5 run to start the second quarter that included seven straight points from Holiday and tied the game, 42-42. 

Seen here, Milwaukee star Jrue Holiday shoots against the Phoenix Suns in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
Milwaukee Bucks star Jrue Holiday takes a tough shot against the Phoenix Suns in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Pic: Getty

Both Antetokounmpo and Booker returned to the second quarter at the 6:14 mark, and 28 seconds later a Bobby Portis triple gave Milwaukee a 50-49 lead. 

It was the Bucks who were cooking by halftime, when they led 64-61 on 58% shooting from the field and 9-for-17 marksmanship from distance. 

Holiday led everyone at the break with 18 points (8-11 FG) and seven assists, and Milwaukee's Portis and Pat Connaughton poured in five 3-pointers on eight tries off the bench.

Milwaukee amped its lead to double digits midway through the third quarter, when stars Antetokounmpo, Holiday and Khris Middleton hit the Suns with another 7-0 run. 

It was an absolute onslaught by the Bucks, who were shooting better from the field (62%) and 3 (57%) than the were from the free-throw line (50%).

Not even Booker's 14 third-quarter points kept Milwaukee from riding momentum into the final quarter.

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