Milwaukee Bucks found themselves in another down to the wire finish in Saturday night's Game 5 clash with th..."/> Milwaukee Bucks found themselves in another down to the wire finish in Saturday night's Game 5 clash with th..."/>

How the Milwaukee Bucks have learned to trust one another in the playoffs

Jul 17, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 17, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Milwaukee Bucks found themselves in another down to the wire finish in Saturday night’s Game 5 clash with the Phoenix Suns.

With his team trailing by one point and the clock winding down, Phoenix’s Devin Booker dribbled down the court solely focused on hitting the game-winning shot. Being guarded under stress by Milwaukee’s P.J. Tucker, Booker turned as he looked for a shot, but was met by Jrue Holiday, who promptly ripped the ball away and started moving full speed ahead down the floor to kick off what would soon become an all-time sequence.

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With the Bucks leading by one and the clock running down, Holiday could have kept the ball in his hands and waited to be fouled, which would have sent him to the free throw line and run more time off the clock.

Sure, that might have been the most logical action, but Holiday had other plans when he saw Giannis Antetokounmpo racing down the floor signaling for an alley-oop pass to be thrown his way.

Holiday threw a pass that only the Greek Freak himself could manage to catch, emphatically throwing it down while simultaneously getting fouled. It was a game-changing sequence from the Bucks that practically put this game away, and it would not have been possible without the trust built between this Milwaukee team.

The Milwaukee Bucks have detailed the importance of trust throughout this run in the NBA Playoffs

Giannis followed through with his usual routine by speaking to the media following the game, and of course, the alley-oop play was a hot topic of discussion. Going into detail about the situation, Antetokounmpo highlighted how the trust Holiday displayed when he threw that pass meant the world to him in such a crucial situation late in the game. Via the Milwaukee Bucks Official YouTube:

"“He didn’t want to throw me the ball at first, but I was like, ‘Throw it, throw it, throw it!’ And then he threw it. He trusted me. After the game, I was like, ‘Thank you for trusting me,’ you know because he could go any way, he could throw it and he could make a wrong pass and that would be on him as the point guard. Coach would say, ‘You’re supposed to keep the ball.’ But he trusted me and knows I’m going to finish. That says a lot to me.”"

That entire sequence from Holiday’s steal to the pass to Antetokounmpo’s authoritative slam will be remembered thanks to the trust between these two. The finish on that play marked Holiday’s 13th assist in the game, tallying his sixth double-digit assist game in these playoffs. The Bucks have fully enjoyed Holiday’s time operating as the floor general in this playoff run as he continues either making the right plays for himself or creating opportunities for his teammates.

While this is Holiday’s first year with the Bucks and there were some growing pains along the way, the same cannot be said for Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. These two have been together for the past eight seasons, and their bond is seemingly unbreakable. The biggest instance of this is late in ball games, where Middleton oftentimes finds himself with the basketball in his hands, rather than the two-time MVP in Antetokounmpo.

Many have belittled Antetokounmpo for not taking the big shots with the game on the line as other stars are often the ones clamoring for the ball late in games. However, Antetokounmpo has made it clear that he certainly could not care less about who will take those last shots, especially with Middleton as he trusts the two-time All-Star beyond belief. Following Middleton’s 20-point scoring barrage in a Game 3 victory against the Atlanta Hawks in the Conference Finals, Giannis spoke on the importance of his running mate and giving him the ball late.

"“He turned the ball over like two times and after that, he was just like, ‘Pass me the ball,’ and we gave him the ball. I’ve talked in the past how there’s moments when we know when to set screens for him, we know when he wants the ball and that was the moment. We were like, ‘Get the hell out of the way, give him the ball, take us home Khris,’ and that’s what he did.”"

Middleton has become the go-to guy down the stretch, and both Antetokounmpo and Holiday have embraced that because of the utmost trust they have in No. 22. However, they are not alone as this entire roster is seemingly devoid of egos as their sole desire is to win basketball games. That mindset has helped this team fight through adversity throughout this turbulent postseason run, digging themselves out of many holes. They believe in one another to the fullest extent, and that mentality has proven crucial for this veteran group.

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Trust was certainly on display as Holiday tossed that oop pass to Antetokounmpo, but the faith this team has in one another has been around for the longest time.