How did the starting five perform in Game 6 between the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks?
JRUE HOLIDAYPG, Milwaukee Bucks
With Giannis sidelined, the Bucks would need a masterclass from Jrue Holiday, and he largely delivered on that hope. The guard finished with 27 points on 11-of-23 shooting from the field, including 4-of-12 from deep. While his shot selection was suspect at times – Holiday shooting 12 shots from the perimeter is not his strong suit – he ultimately helped pave the way for the Bucks, hitting several clutch shots down the stretch to pull away. In addition to his scoring, Holiday tallied nine rebounds, nine assists, four steals, and two blocked shots. That is a fantastic stat-line from your starting point guard with a chance to go to the NBA Finals on the line. It was not all good for Holiday as he struggled to handle the ball at times and finished with six turnovers, but that was rightfully overshadowed by his overall play with a near triple-double.
KHRIS MIDDLETONSG, Milwaukee Bucks
If we’re handing out grades based on the first half and second half, Khris Middleton’s first 24 minutes deserve an F. Middleton had six turnovers in the first half along to go along with just five points. It appeared that this game was trending toward another disappearing act by Middleton, but he ultimately flipped the switch in the third quarter. The forward came out firing right out of the halftime gates as he individually went on a 16-2 run versus the entire Hawks team, eventually scoring 23 points in the period alone. He would log just one more turnover in the second half, finishing the game with 32 points on 45.5 percent shooting from the floor, including 40 percent from deep to go along with four rebounds and seven assists. Talk about a tale of two halves. Yet, given the Middleton found his groove and ultimately blew this game open to propel the Bucks to their first NBA Finals since 1974, he has rightfully earned this praise for his effort.
P.J. TUCKERSF, Milwaukee Bucks
This was a strange game for P.J. Tucker. The bruiser is most known for his defense, but it was his offense that was the main storyline for this matchup, and not in a good way. The forward had the third most shot attempts on the team behind Middleton and Holiday, but he shot just 2-of-10 from the floor. This included shooting 0-for-6 from 3-point range until late in the fourth quarter, where he let one fly and finally got a triple to drop to give the Bucks a 10 point lead with 1:02 left to play. It was a big shot from Tucker to practically seal the deal for Milwaukee. You have to admire the confidence it took from Tucker to continuously heave these triples despite missing his first six tries, but he came up clutch when the team needed it most. He made good elsewhere with eight rebounds, two assists, and a single steal on the night while playing some tenacious defense that is always expected from him.
BOBBY PORTISPF, Milwaukee Bucks
Bobby Portis notched his second career playoff start in Game 6, and he struggled to find his shot. The big man shot just 3-of-8 from the field, including missing all three attempts from behind the arc to finish with 12 points. He remained aggressive and received a massive boost from the free throw line, where he shot a perfect 6-for-6 on the night. While he was not scoring as prolifically as usually, Portis remained a force on the glass by hauling in nine rebounds – three offensively and six defensively – to help make up for Antetokounmpo’s absence. Despite his shot not dropping as it normally would, Portis had a solid impact in this game starting in place of Giannis.
BROOK LOPEZC, Milwaukee Bucks
After serving as the hero in Game 5 for the Bucks, Brook Lopez had a far quieter Game 6 on the offensive end. The big man totaled just 13 points on 55.6 percent shooting from the floor, which included knocking down his lone 3-point attempt. The Bucks were not as dependent on finding the towering big man as they were in Game 5, where he scored a playoff career-high 33 points, but he still made the most of the opportunity when he got the basketball. The bigger focus was defensively, where Lopez did a valiant job of protecting the rim by totaling three blocked shots. Although he did not steal the show this time around, Lopez played a great all-around game by playing to his strengths on both ends.