Bucks Coach Praise Lopez & Giannis After Game 5 Win
PJ Tucker and Brook Lopez celebrate

Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer has praised Brook Lopez for stepping in the absence of Giannis Antetokounmpo as they went 3-2 up in the Conference finals.

The Bucks defeated the Atlanta Hawks 123-112 on Thursday in Game 5 in Milwaukee, moving them within one win of a place in the NBA Finals against the Phoenix Suns.

Milwaukee were without their star Greek forward after his knee hyperextension in Game 4 but there were plenty willing to step up in his absence.

Bucks center Lopez headlined the list with 33 points and seven rebounds in the paint, while Bobby Portis impressed too, with 22 points, eight rebounds and three assists.

Khris Middleton shot 26 points with 13 rebounds and eight assists, while Jrue Holiday made 25 points, six rebounds and 13 assists.

But Lopez drew special praise from Budenholzer, with the former Los Angeles Lakers big man starring against Clint Capela.

“He came through big time,” Budenholzer said. “There was a couple where he made plays. He did it with pick ‘n’ roll, he got on the offensive glass, he got to the free-throw line.

“An overall really really impressive effort. He’s such a great teammate. He stepped up big tonight.”

The Bucks started strong and were never headed, holding a nine-point half-time lead, before pulling 20 clear at one stage.

The Hawks were without Trae Young due to bone bruising in his foot, with Bogdan Bogdanovic trying his best with 28 points including seven three-pointers, five rebounds and four assists.

Antetokounmpo was a notable presence on the Bucks bench, getting around his teammates and celebrating key moments.

“Several times i noticed him, the communication and trying to find away to help the team any way he can,” Budenholzer said.

“I saw a guy who is locked in and trying to talk to his teammates and help them. That’s what we need from everybody.”

Game 6 takes place in Atlanta on Saturday.

Ben somerford
Sports Pundit staff writer @bensomerford
Australian journalist who specialises on all sports, focusing on football, tennis, basketball and racing, having written for global publications including FourFourTwo, AAP, Inside Futbol and many more....

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