Good hadn’t been good enough for a Milwaukee Bucks win — until Game 4.
And while Antetokounmpo will likely need to be great again, his teammates must prove they can deliver on the road the way they have at home. The Bucks and Phoenix Suns are tied 2-2 as the series returns to Phoenix for Game 5 土曜日.
The Bucks need to maintain what they found in Milwaukee to rally from a nine-point, fourth-quarter deficit in a 109-103 ゲーム 4 勝利 Wednesday night.
“Going down the stretch, we kept believing in ourselves,” Antetokounmpo said after Game 4. “We kept executing, setting screens. We kept running, we kept rebounding the ball, we kept blocking shots. We wanted this bad, and the team showed it tonight. But we’ve got to keep getting better.”
Antetokounmpo has averaged 32.3 ポイント, 14 リバウンドと 5.5 assists in the finals despite hyperextending his left knee in the Bucks’ previous series, causing him to miss the last two games of the Eastern Conference finals.
But the Bucks showed in Game 4 that they can beat the Suns even when their two-time MVP isn’t at his absolute best.
Antetokounmpo had a more-than-respectable 26 ポイント, 14 rebounds and eight assists in Game 4 as well as a spectacular block that prevented Phoenix’s Deandre Ayton from tying the game with 1:14 左. Those numbers would make just about any other NBA player envious, but they actually represented a step back after Antetokounmpo delivered back-to-back performances of over 40 ポイントと 10 rebounds in Games 2 そして 3.
It was Khris Middleton – not Antetokounmpo – who scored 40 points to lead the Bucks to their come-from-behind victory. Middleton reeled off eight straight points in the closing minutes to help the Bucks turn a 99-97 に赤字 105-99 鉛.
“That’s what he does down the stretch,” Antetokounmpo said. “We want him to have the ball. We want him to be the decision maker.”
Other players chipped in as well.
Jrue Holiday followed up his 21-point Game 3 performance by shooting just 4 の 20 ゲームで 4, but he also made one of the game’s biggest plays when he stole the ball from Chris Paul, sparking a fastbreak that resulted in a Middleton layup to put the Bucks ahead 103-99 と 27.2 残り秒.
“That’s what it’s all about – learning, learning how to win different types of ballgames, different styles,” said Middleton, 得点した人 10 of the Bucks’ last 12 ポイント. “And that’s what that was moment was about, finding a way to win a game where it seemed like we weren’t going to win, and give us a chance to still have a life, going to Phoenix with a little bit of confidence, with a little bit of momentum.”
The Bucks must win at least once in Phoenix to have a shot at their first title in 50 年. The last time the Bucks played there, they lost by double digits even as Antetokounmpo produced 42 ポイント, 12 rebounds and four assists.
“We’re trying to give him some different looks, especially in the half court,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “I thought our guys did an unreal job in the half court. We were doubling him at times and firing out to their shooters, just trying to take him off of his rhythm. In transition the wall was a lot better tonight. It’s something that we can get better at.”
That’s going to put more pressure on Antetokounmpo’s teammates to play better on the road.
Holiday must regain his shooting touch while maintaining his ferocious defense. Pat Connaughton has to continue producing off the bench. But most of all, the Bucks will need a huge road effort from Middleton, the unsung star who has turned this postseason into a personal showcase.
Antetokounmpo said Middleton’s Game 4 performance was “信じられない。, then added:
“We need him to keep doing it,” Antetokounmpo noted. “We are within reach of our goals.”