The Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks will battle in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, which might be the biggest game since Game 7 between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors in 2016. Both the teams are all square and separated by just three points over four games.
Also, when it comes to the NBA Finals, every win counts but how critical is Saturday's Game 5?
In short, Game 5 is going to be extremely critical. Historically, when the NBA Finals have been tied 2-2, the team that wins Game 5 has gone on to win the series 72% of the time. The Finals team with home-court advantage, which is Phoenix, in this case, is 20-9 in Game 5 with the series tied.
When the team with home-court advantage loses Game 5 at home, however, things historically look bleaker heading into Game 6, with that team sitting at 4-5 in Game 6 on the road.
While these numbers might seem to play into the hands of the Suns but they also put pressure on Phoenix to emerge victorious. And with that, the burden is squarely on the shoulders of Chris Paul, who is potentially staring his final chance to win an NBA title.
According to his standards, he laid an egg in Game 4, finishing with 10 points on 5 for13 shooting, coupled with seven assists, four rebounds, and five turnovers. Shannon Sharpe still pointed out on Friday’s “Undisputed” that the silver lining for Paul is that it’s only up from here.
Sharpe said, "I'm sure when Chris Paul looked back at that film [of Game 4], he was like, ‘Man, was that me? Or was that somebody impersonating me? … I’m not supposed to play this bad in a situation like this.”’ He added that he is leaning toward picking the Suns in Game 5.
"The X-factor is that guy? … [The Finals] would have been a virtually done deal if Chris hadn't played that poorly and committed those atrocities of turnovers in the fourth quarter."
Former NBA All-Star Antoine Walker said that in short, it is all about Paul and Giannis Antetokounmpo in Game 5, the two richest players of basketball on the floor who will be called to make the money plays in crunch time.