May 27, 2022
  • The Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Phoenix Suns 123-119 in Game 5 of the 2021 NBA Finals.
  • Jrue Holiday came up big for the Bucks as his steal on Devin Booker and alley-oop pass to Giannis Antetokounmpo in the closing seconds of the game sealed the win for the Bucks.
  • Milwaukee is now a -375 betting favorite to win the 2021 NBA championship.

The Milwaukee Bucks are one win away from winning only the second title in franchise history. And while it’s easy to give credit to their two All-Stars in Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, it’s hard to overlook what Jrue Holiday has done to help this team get over the playoff hump.

Holiday played the game of his life on Saturday night as the Bucks defeated the Phoenix Suns 123-119 in a thrilling Game 5 that went down to the final minute to be decided.Jrue Holiday’s Huge Night


Jrue Holiday’s huge night, capped by his clutch steal & lob to Giannis late, lifts the @Bucks to a 3-2 lead in the #NBAFinals presented by YouTube TV! #ThatsGame

Giannis: 32 PTS, 9 REB

Middleton: 29 PTS

Booker: 40 PTS

— NBA (@NBA) July 18, 2021

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s late-game block of Deandre Ayton in Game 4 is now considered one of the greatest defensive plays in the history of the NBA Finals. One game later, Jrue Holiday etched his name in NBA lore with a defensive gem for the ages as well. And it wasn’t just the defense, but also the perfectly timed alley-oop pass on the other end of the floor that put the game away for good.


— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 18, 2021

Holiday didn’t just come up with the game-winning sequence, he played his best game of the series in Game 5 with 27 points, 13 assists, four rebounds, one block, and three steals. He shot 12-20 from the field and 3-6 from deep although of course everyone will remember that steal on Devin Booker in the closing moments of the game.

Since Game 2 of the Finals, Holiday has been designated to guard Chris Paul and after CP3 committed only a total of 10 turnovers in his previous five games, Paul has 16 turnovers in the four games that Holiday has guarded him.

Sure, CP3 only had one turnover in Game 5 but that’s because Holiday was assigned to Booker after P.J. Tucker had foul trouble. Sure, Booker had a monster 40 point game but his two turnovers were both steals by Jrue Holiday. The first one ended in a Holiday three-pointer on the other end. The second one led to the Giannis alley-oop that sealed the game. Overall, a seven point swing for the Bucks. That’s sensational defense.Importance of Game 5 Winner

This is the 30th time in #NBAFinals history that the series has been tied 2-2.

The winner of Game 5 has gone on to win 72% of the time (21-8).

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 16, 2021

The 2021 NBA Finals is the 30th championship series in league history that was tied at 2-2 after four games. In the first 29 instances where both teams were tied heading to Game 5, the winner of the fifth game went on to win the NBA championship in 21 instances or 72% of the time.

With the win, the Bucks are now at the precipice of their second ever NBA title and have two attempts to accomplish the feat. But with Tuesday’s Game 6 scheduled to be played in Milwaukee where the Bucks have lost just once ( Game 1 vs the Atlanta Hawks ) this postseason, Milwaukee’s chances are looking good.

The Bucks have opened as 5-point favorites at the spread line and a -205 at the Moneyline of online sportsbook The same bookmaker also has Milwaukee as a big -375 betting favorite to win the title because of their twice-to-beat advantage.

As for the Suns, they are in unfamiliar territory right now because they have not lost three straight games during the current playoffs. In fact, the last time they lost three in a row was in January when they dropped back to back OT games against Denver on January 23 and 24, and then lost to the OKC Thunder on January 28th.Trading for a Veteran Point Guard

It’s only fitting that 50 years after the #Bucks swung a deal for a vet point guard to put them over the top in The Big O ( that they did it again:

— Jim Owczarski (@JimOwczarski) July 15, 2021

It’s interesting to note that on April 21, 1970, the Milwaukee Bucks traded for a veteran point guard in Oscar Robertson to get them over the playoff hump. One year after Lew Alcindor led the Bucks to a 29-game turnaround in his rookie season, they got him a point guard in the then 31-year old Robertson. Milwaukee won the 1971 NBA Finals.

50-years after the Oscar Robertson deal, the Milwaukee Bucks made a trade involving a veteran point guard who is also 31-years old right now. This time around, they did so not only to get them over the playoff hump, but also to convince two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo to remain with the team by signing an extension deal.

At the time of the trade, getting Jrue Holiday for Eric Bledsoe didn’t look like a game changer. All-Stars guards like James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Chris Paul were rumored to be on the trading block during the same period but the Bucks only had their sights on Holiday. Now we know why.

Giannis is the betting favorite to win Finals MVP honors while Khris Middleton has been their go-to guy down the stretch in the playoffs. However, there’s no question that Jrue Holiday has been the difference maker. Remember that the Bucks had the best record in the league the past two seasons only to come up short in the playoffs. With Holiday this season, they are one victory away from the NBA title.

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