With the Milwaukee Bucks being just 1 win away from winning the championship, lost behind the big 3 of Giannis, Jrue and Middleton is a guy who Bucks fans will tell you is the unsung hero of these finals.
So as I always do, let’s shine some light on those who deserve it.
And this time, it’s Pat Connaughton. What up everybody, my name is Stefan and this is Heat Check. Let’s get into it.
During the regular season Connaughton was not even a 7 point per game player and shot a career high 37.1% from three. And while that’s ok but nothing special, throughout the finals so far, when the lights are brightest and every shot counts, Pat has been lights out firing away at 50% rate from downtown.
In game 5 there were situations like this one where the Suns would load up on Antetokounmpo on the pick and roll. So as he drives, you see Crowder stepping in to stop the penetration, we got the kick out and Connaughton is ready so he knocks it down.
Again, in transition, when Phoenix puts another guy in front to stop the Greek Freak, you need to punish them, so on this find in the corner he has to hit it to keep the defense honest.
And he does exactly that.
Pat was 4 of 6 on these shots in game 5 and was clutch in the previous game.
First he knocked down this 3 pointer at the start of the fourth to chip away at the Suns lead.
Then, with a 5 point deficit, he tracks this shot by Middleton, out jumps Deandre Ayton, and puts it in to make it a 1 possession game.
And finally, moments later in transition, the swing swing to the corner for a clutch three to give Milwaukee the lead which eventually won the game for them.
With 11 points and 5.4 rebounds per game he provides a big boost for the Bucks.
However what makes him an unsung hero for this team, is especially his effort on the defensive end.
Just look at these defensive possessions. Watch the effort against one of the best scorers in the game. And then notice how for every single of these shots by Booker- Connaughton is right there, heavily contesting it and making it extremely difficult.
The Suns were hunting for this mismatch as if this would be an automatic bucket, but watching Pat hold his ground on all of these possessions you have to appreciate him.
Whether it was a miss by Devin, or a make like this one, you can see that Connaughton is always right in his face contesting.
And you’ll probably say “oh but he had 40 points”. Thing is, most of those points were scored against his primary defenders. Holiday, Middleton...heck even Giannis got some.
So Pat was definitely not on the receiving end of these, even tho Phoenix believe that they have a huge advantage when he’s the one switched on Booker.
Regardless, watching this whole sequence, as Holiday rips the ball away from Booker with instincts that only great defensive players have, and then moments later the subsequent lob for the emphatic dunk by Antetokounmpo-you see why teams pay the big bucks for the big time players. That is of course also the case with Middleton on his shake and bake pull up jumpers.
However, even with great players as the core of the roster, Pat Connaughton is a prime example of why you need guys who do the dirty work, give 100% effort on defense, and hit timely shots when you need them the most. At the end, all pieces chip in and come together for the ultimate goal of winning a championship. And now, the Bucks are just a step away from it. Because of the stars and just as much because of the role players.
Hey I don’t know if you remember but ya boy told you, even with Phoenix being up 2-0 (OLD CLIP) So here we are. I’ve truly been enjoying these finals and can’t wait for game 6. Let me know who you got. That’s it for now, subscribe and talk to you in the next one. Peace out.
19 Ιούλ 2021