Milwaukee Bucks refuse to quit, complete huge comeback in Game 5 vs Celtics

Never give up. That’s always easier said than done with many people failing to live up to that mantra whether it comes to their personal life, goals they want to accomplish, or something entirely different. The Milwaukee Bucks do not fall under that category.

The Bucks did the unthinkable, stole Game 5 from the Celtics (COOKIES!), and re-gained the series lead.

Down Khris Middleton? Down 14 points with 9:57 remaining in the fourth quarter? Facing the NBA’s best defense and struggling on offense all series? None of that mattered as the Bucks went on a 31-14 run to finish the game and steal yet another victory in the TD Garden to take a 3-2 series lead as the two teams head back to Milwaukee for a potential series-clinching Game 6.

The Milwaukee Bucks showed their championship mettle when they completed a huge fourth-quarter comeback against the Boston Celtics in Game 5.

Perseverance. Grit. Determination. Moxie. It doesn’t matter what synonym you use–the Bucks have it. They are the defending champions for a reason and they flexed their muscles when the whole NBA world counted them down and out in Game 5. Not so fast, my friends.

I can’t claim innocence as a hater, either. Before the series began I predicted the Celtics would take it in seven games–and they still might–however, it’s very tough to doubt Milwaukee considering the courage they continue to show. Even without their second-best offensive player in Khris Middleton and with Jrue Holiday struggling mightily to fill that void, they’ve found a way to withstand the Celtics’ haymakers, steady their feet, and return punches of their own.

Speaking of Holiday, he went from the scapegoat to the hero over the final 10 seconds of the game.

The Bucks only have two guys who can consistently create their own shot with Middleton out–Giannis Antetokounmpo and Holiday. That places a lot of pressure on Holiday to carry a heavy load on both ends of the court, and he’s struggled to hold up his end of the bargain on offense. By the end of Game 5, Holiday has shot a putrid 40-for-116 (34.5 percent) including 9-for-24. But he still had a job to do.

With the Bucks up by one, Marcus Smart received the inbounds pass with 11.4 seconds remaining and tried to attack the basket down the right baseline. Holiday left his man and not only blocked the floater attempt at its crest, but controlled it and whipped it off Smart before it bounced out of bounds. Pat Connaughton was then fouled on the ensuing inbounds pass with 5.9 seconds remaining, knocked down both free throws to give Milwaukee a three-point lead and set the stage for one last chance for the Celtics.

Smart once again possessed the ball and quickly pushed up the court to get his team one final shot attempt to tie the game. And Holiday was waiting once again. He swiped the ball from Smart as soon as he crossed halfcourt, leaving the newly crowned Defensive Player of the Year flailing to the floor in desperate search of a foul that was nowhere to be seen.

Bobby Portis is another example of the championship grit that defines this squad. He only played 15 minutes in Game 4, but the Bucks needed a lot more out of him if they wanted to be victorious. He may not have responded with an efficient night (just 4-of-14 from the field for 14 points), but he came up big when it mattered the most.

With the Bucks trailing by two points with time waning in the fourth quarter, Antetokounmpo was fouled and sent to the free throw line for two attempts with 14.1 seconds left. After getting his bleeding eye patched up, he knocked down the first one, but missed the second. Portis, who finished the night with seven offensive rebounds, had his biggest one yet, as he bullied the Celtics on the box out, somehow corralled the ball and laid it in for two points and a Bucks’ lead.

This drama was intense as it gets and Milwaukee never backed down. They didn’t get flustered from the Celtic’s hot shooting that helped them hold a lead for the entire game after the first quarter and they didn’t hang their heads when their shots weren’t falling.

Who knows what will happen the rest of the series. The Celtics certainly have the firepower to win the next two and come out victorious in the end. As Antetokounmpo said after Game 5, ” It feels good but at the end of the day we can’t get too high, can’t get too low. We have two games ahead of us. We have one at home and hopefully, we can go there and put ourselves in position to win, enjoy the game as much as possible, compete and play good basketball.”