Milwaukee hadn't gotten enough production from their starters in the first four games of their opening playoff series with Chicago, but Khris Middleton and Michael Carter-Williams proved to be vital for Milwaukee in their Game 5 victory. The combo combined for 43 points and helped the Bucks snap a five-game losing streak in Chicago in their 94-88 win on the road.
Carter-Williams put together a great all-around game, scoring a team-high 22 points while also dishing out nine assists and grabbing eight rebounds. He scored eight points for the Bucks in the final period, and all 10 of his made shots in the game came inside the paint, with eight of them coming against Derrick Rose.
"I think I was just trying to get into the lane and find the open guy." Carter-Williams said. "I was just being patient and that just opened up the lane a bit and I was able to finish."
Middleton finished with 21 points and went 8-of-16 shooting from the field. The rest of Milwaukee's three starters went just 11-of-32 from the field. As a team, the Bucks shot just 42 percent from the field, but Middleton and MCW combined to shoot 58 percent from the floor.
"Our whole thing is about playing hard," Jason Kidd said, "that's how we're built. Tonight's another example of that, not only in the fourth quarter,"
On the other end, their backcourt opponents Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler combined for 33 points, but combined to shoot just 24 percent. It was a stout defensive effort for the Bucks against the two players they've struggled against for much of the series.
"They jumped on us right away." Rose said. "We just couldn't turn the things we wanted."
The Bucks led by six at the end of the third quarter, 76-70, thanks to a wide-open Jared Dudley 3-pointer from the top of the key. Chicago ended up going just 7-of-30 in the final period and ended the game at 34 percent. Middleton nailed two shots from the foul line with 27.3 remaining to seal it.
"We did our job to keep our lead and keep them from going on that run." Middleton said after the game.
No team has ever come back to win a series after a 3-0 deficit, but a huge road win Monday night gives the Bucks a chance to overcome some seriously long odds. The win was especially sweet for Middleton and MCW considering where they were a year ago. Middleton played well through the Bucks' franchise-worst 15-67 season, while Carter-Williams was a of a 19-win Philadelphia 76ers team.
MCW feels good going into Thursday's game, while Middleton is still looking ahead.
"We're always confident knowing we have a chance to win each game." Carter-Williams said. "I think we're both very grateful to be in the playoffs."
"To be in this position, it feels good, but we can't be satisfied with it," Middleton stated.