Lopez stars as Bucks beat Hawks to close in on NBA Finals

By Can Erozden

ANKARA (AA) – Superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo’s absence was hardly felt as the Milwaukee Bucks charged to a 123-112 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night to go 3-2 up in the Eastern Conference finals.

Bucks center Brook Lopez scored a playoff career-high 33 points, backed up by Khris Middleton with 26 points and 13 rebounds, Jrue Holiday with 25 points and 13 assists, and Bobby Portis with 22 points.

The quartet’s performance ensured the Bucks never missed two-time MVP Antetokounmpo, who was sidelined with a hyperextended left knee, and are now just one win away from the NBA Finals.

With 28 points, Serbian shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic was the top scorer for the Hawks.

John Collins and Italian forward Danilo Gallinari dropped 19 points each, while Lou Williams added another 17.

Game 6 of the series will be played at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena on Saturday, where a win for the Hawks will set up a decisive Game 7 clash to determine who will take on Western Conference champions Phoenix Suns in the final.