Bucks’ Brook Lopez Equals Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Record and Makes Up for His Absence in Game 5 Win vs Hawks

Published 07/02/2021, 12:56 AM EDT
Jul 1, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez (11) dunks a basket in the third quarter against the Atlanta Hawks during game five of the Eastern Conference Finals for the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports


While most saw the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks Game 5 Eastern Conference Finals as a starless bout, that is far from the truth. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Trae Young might have been benched, but the Bucks’ Brook Lopez was the superstar they needed to grab this pivotal 3-2 lead against Hawks. Could anybody tell that Giannis wasn’t playing? Hardly.

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Tonight’s Milwaukee Bucks’ MVP, ladies and gentleman: Brook Lopez

The Milwaukee Bucks are one game away from the NBA Finals, a dream come true for Giannis and co. They never looked as fluid as they did in the game today, that too without Giannis.

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The key contributors were Khris Middleton who put up 26 points, 13 rebounds, and 8 assists, Jrue Holiday, who added 25 points and 13 assists, along with Bobby Portis’ 22 points.

However, the man of the match was Brook Lopez, who recorded a career-high playoff score of 33 points. Thus, they gave the Bucks the boost they needed to make this victory happen. There isn’t anybody who can replace Giannis, but Lopez did an incredible job ensuring they hold the fort without him.

The way the Bucks attacked the paint was a sight for sore eyes, after seeing them struggling to shoot in the previous games. In fact, ESPN Stats & Info reported, “26 of Lopez’s 33 points in Game 5 came in the paint. That’s tied with Giannis Antetokounmpo for the 2nd-most points in the paint by a Bucks player in a playoff game over the last 25 postseasons.”

WATCH THIS STORY: Trae Young’s Bow, Larry Bird’s Steal & Other Iconic NBA Playoff Moments

Will the Atlanta Hawks make a comeback?

The Atlanta Hawks weren’t half as bad as everyone expected without Trae Young. Bogdan Bogdanovic had 28 points while John Collins netted 19 points. However, he was unable to get more support from the rest of the teammates, which landed them on the losing side.

Unlike Milwaukee, who were incredible from the field, the Hawks struggled as they missed 12 of 13 shots. This gave the Bucks an opportunity to go on a 20-5 run and ended up with a game-high lead of 20 points.

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Jul 1, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez (11) shoots during the third quarter against the Atlanta Hawks during game five of the Eastern Conference Finals for the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Hawks made an effort to cut down the deficit, but the Bucks had an answer for everything tonight. So, without Trae, the Hawks’ chances of taking this to a Game 7 seem bleak. Do you think they can somehow pull off a miraculous upset?

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Yashima Bhatia

1332 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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