Some people may not know that Brook Lopez is the Brooklyn Nets’ all-time leading scorer. His 7,998 points are far ahead of second-placed Buck Williams, who has 7,234, and Vince Carter, who’s third at 6,987.
For the Nets, he had four out of nine seasons where he scored 20 or more points per game, and hovered close to that on an additional two.
He was probably spurred by the absence of the injured Giannis Antetokounmpo, but Lopez decided to turn it on like it was 2011. He was all over the Hawks in Game 5, abusing them in the paint and throwing down dunks like he was still in his prime.
His 33 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals and 4 blocks were a major catalyst for the Bucks’ victory and 3-2 series lead.
He looked like he had a ton of fun doing it, too, which is always nice. After Lou Williams had his resurgence in Game 4, it was Lopez’s turn to be a veteran that shines.
Lopez’s efforts were matched by a solid game from the rest of Milwaukee’s Game 5 starters:
- PJ Tucker: 5 points, 11 rebounds
- Khris Middleton: 26 points, 13 rebounds, 8 assists
- Bobby Portis: 22 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals
- Jrue Holiday: 25 points, 6 rebounds, 13 assists
Lopez’s dominance in the paint was absolute in Game 5. He almost singlehandedly outscored the Hawks in the paint, as he scored most of his buckets down low and missed his only two three-point attempts. As a team, Atlanta had 36 points in the paint. Milwaukee scored 66 points in the area.
Most importantly, the 123-112 victory may give the Bucks the confidence to rest Antetokounmpo for an extra game. If they’re able to win Game 6 while giving the Greek Freak another break, they’ll be in a much better position to challenge the Phoenix Suns for this year’s Larry O’Brien trophy.
The opposite is true for the Hawks. Now, with their season on the line, the Hawks may be forced to play Trae Young in Game 6. His injured ankle may still not be ready to handle a full game, but they’re going to go home if they lose.
The Bucks had a great chance at winning by seeing Middleton and Holiday both have good games. They were simply unstoppable with Lopez and Portis also having big nights.
Now, with all the momentum on their side, Milwaukee will be itching to play the next game in Atlanta.