Milwaukee Bucks: 3 keys to victory in dire Game 5 versus Atlanta Hawks

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - JUNE 29 (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - JUNE 29 (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton, Atlanta Hawks: Bogdan Bogdanovic
ATLANTA, GEORGIA – JUNE 29 (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Among the many storylines to bloom throughout this series, the subpar play from two of Milwaukee’s top three players has been a clear issue.

Jrue Holiday started this series off red-hot by averaging 27.5 points on 59 percent shooting from the floor and 50 percent from behind the arc across the first two games in Milwaukee. This appeared to be a breakout series for the guard, but the script flipped once the Bucks hit the road as Holiday has averaged 12.5 points on 28.6 percent field goal shooting and 20 percent 3-point shooting across the lastest two contests in Atlanta.

That disparity in numbers is undoubtedly concerning, as his production has fallen off a cliff over the latter two matchups. With Antetokounmpo not able to carry the load, more of the pressure pivots to Holiday to get back into a groove and perform. He has played a factor in Milwaukee’s turnover frenzy these past two games, and he needs to settle down with the ball in his hands. He will be operating in that floor general role more often, and he will be put to the task to orchestrate the offense for others while getting himself going as well.

Another player that finds himself in the same situation is Khris Middleton. The forward had his six minutes of fame when he exploded in the fourth quarter of Game 3 and scored 20 points in the fourth quarter to complete Milwaukee’s come from behind victory, but he has been largely subpar in every other instance in the series. With his running mate sidelined, Middleton takes over as the top option for Milwaukee on the offensive end, and he must rise to the challenge.

Seeing him establish an early rhythm by knocking in some smart shots and getting his teammates involved in the action would be a dream come true. Given everything at stake as the Bucks are still alive in fighting for a spot in the NBA Finals, it seems reasonable to say this is one of the most important games in Middleton’s career to this point. Can he lead this team to victory? Only time will tell.

Next. Milwaukee Bucks: 3 most important matchups versus the Atlanta Hawks. dark

This will be a pivotal game for the Bucks as they look to handle their business back in Milwaukee in tonight’s Game 5 with Atlanta. Be sure to catch the action at 7:30 p.m. CST on TNT.