Impressive Brook Lopez Turned Back the Clock in Bucks’ Huge Win
Without Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks were facing a tall task coming into Game 5 at home with the series tied up at 2-2 after the Hawks pummeled them a game before in Atlanta.
A tall task requires a tall guy, right? Well, they had to look no further than their 7-foot center in Brook Lopez.
Over the past few seasons, Mike Budenholzer and the Bucks got away from what Lopez provides best as a tall center, instead game-planning for him to hang out from behind the arc to stretch the floor.
It worked to some degree, as Lopez drilled 187 3-pointers in the 2018-19 season, shattering the previous record of most 3-pointers made by a 7-footer in a single season, which was held by none other than Dirk Nowitzki.
Impressive Brook Lopez
In the Bucks’ triumphant 123-112 victory over the Hawks though, Lopez scored 33 points on 14-18 shooting and only attempted two threes, as both were misses.
Lopez got back to dominating the paint with his tremendous postgame arsenal that made him a rising star in the league back in his days with the New Jersey and Brooklyn Nets. He was using his hook shot to perfection and also wowed the entire world with several dunks including some sweet alley-oop finishes.
Throughout his career, Lopez earned the reputation of being automatic once he got the ball in his hands inside the paint, and Game 5 against the Hawks was no exception.
The Bucks wisely drew Clint Capela away from the rim on defense on several occasions, which opened Lopez up to inflict a lot of damage inside the paint.
The Hawks also were forced to switch several small defenders onto Lopez, but inside, Lopez had to think “you gotta be kidding me,” as all he had to do was body them up and use his outstretched arms to put the ball in the basket.
It was refreshing to see Lopez get back to his traditional game and stick to what he does best. It’s nice to have the ability to see 3-pointers as a 7-foot player, but the best way to utilize a player like that is to have them dominant inside the paint with their offensive arsenal down low.
Defensively, Lopez held his own as well. He finished with four blocks, but he limited the Hawks to just 7-of-23 shooting on shot attempts he contested.
He particularly took Capela out of his game plan, as Capela couldn’t get a single shot attempt off when guarded by Lopez. As a result, Capela only finished with six points on the night.
Can Bucks Clinch NBA Finals?
Lopez was the star of this game, but the Bucks also got 26 points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists from Khris Middleton, 25 points, 13 assists, and six rebounds from Jrue Holiday and 22 points and eight rebounds from Bobby Portis.
The Bucks are one win away from the NBA Finals, and if Antetokounmpo can get back for the Finals and all of these guys can continue to play big roles, then we can reasonably see the Bucks be the champions this season.
The Hawks are currently the 1-point favorites heading into Game 6.