Chicago — The Milwaukee Bucks insisted this playoff series was about more than just showing up, taking their beating and learning from it.
They wanted to hang around. And that's exactly what they are doing.
Michael Carter-Williams had 22 points and eight assists, Khris Middleton scored 21 points, and the Bucks avoided elimination again with a 94-88 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Monday night in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series.
With a 3-2 lead, the Bulls will try to close it out again Thursday at Milwaukee. But the Bucks aren't going quietly after dropping the first three games.
"A lot of people look at it as house money," Bucks coach Jason Kidd said. "You can always talk about the future, but we don't. We don't really understand what the future holds for us. We've got to stay in the present. This is what this team has done all year. They haven't looked at the future. They've just stayed in the present.
"They've worked their tails off and they've put themselves in this position to make (it) a series."
They took Game 4 on a last-second layup by Jerryd Bayless and withstood several pushes by the Bulls in the fourth quarter of this one.
The Bucks regrouped after a nine-point lead dwindled to three, and they hung on again after a seven-point lead shrunk to four with just over a minute remaining.
Carter-Williams hit 10 of 15 shots while outplaying Derrick Rose. The Bucks' guard rolled his right ankle when he stepped on Pau Gasol's foot early in the third but came back late in the quarter.
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 11 points and reserve O.J. Mayo added 10. John Henson provided a big spark off the bench with 14 rebounds — 10 in the fourth quarter — and the Bucks kept the Bulls off balance most of the game.
"We believe that we can beat this team, and we felt that we shouldn't be going home right now," Middleton said.
Gasol had 25 points and 10 rebounds for Chicago but Rose and Jimmy Butler struggled.
Rose had 13 points and six of his team's 13 turnovers. He missed 15 of 20 shots including all seven 3-point attempts.
Butler scored 20 points but was 5 of 21 from the field. The Bulls shot 34.4 percent and hit just 4 of 22 3-point attempts.
"They came into us, put us on our heels early, and we've got to battle back," said Chicago's Taj Gibson, who scored 12 points. "Every team is talented in this league. It comes down to execution and will. We just didn't have it tonight."
The Bucks were leading 86-77 when Rose hit two jumpers and Gasol buried one of his own to make it a three-point game with 4:45 left.
Carter-Williams answered by banking in a shot, and Henson flew in for a putback dunk off a miss by Mayo to make it 90-83 with 3:15 left.
Gasol hit two free throws after getting knocked to the court with 1:04 left to pull Chicago within 92-88. But Antetokounmpo blocked a runner by Rose, and Middleton hit two free throws to make it a six-point game with 27.3 seconds left.
"Got to give credit to the Bucks for how they're competing, how they're giving themselves a chance," Gasol said. "But we've done it to ourselves. Now we have a very difficult challenge in front of us. They have momentum. They have confidence. And they go home to force Game 7. Let's see how we play Game 6, how we react to the situation as a team."
(At) Brooklyn 120, Atlanta 115 (OT): Deron Williams rebounded from two dismal games with 35 points, and Brooklyn tied the series at two games. The Nets, just 38-44 in the regular season, won the second straight in the series and moved two victories from becoming the sixth No. 8 seed to beat a No. 1 — only the fourth since the first round became best-of-seven.
Bojan Bogdanovic made the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:25 left in overtime but the Nets never would have gotten there without Williams, whose 16 points in the fourth quarter were two fewer than he had total in the first three games of the series.
Brook Lopez had 26 points and 10 rebounds for the Nets.
Jeff Teague had 20 points and 11 assists, and DeMarre Carroll added 20 points and nine rebounds for the Hawks, who host Game 5 on Wednesday.
Kyle Korver had 16 points and 11 rebounds, but the NBA's leading 3-point shooter during the regular season missed three straight from behind the arc in the final seconds with the Hawks trailing by three.
(At) Portland 99, Memphis 92: Damian Lillard had 32 points and the Trail Blazers avoided elimination. Memphis led by as many as 10 points in the fourth quarter, but Portland rallied to deny the Grizzlies their first-ever playoff sweep.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 18 points and 12 rebounds for Portland.
Memphis was playing without point guard Mike Conley, who was inadvertently elbowed in the face in the third quarter of Game 3 and underwent surgery on Monday morning. His status for the rest of the playoffs is uncertain.
The winner of the series goes on to face the Golden State Warriors in the second round.
Marc Gasol led the Grizzlies with 21 points.
Golden State's Steve Kerr won the Rudy Tomjanovich Award, given by the Professional Basketball Writers Association to a coach who best combines excellence on the court with cooperation with fans and media.
Kerr led the Warriors to an NBA-best 67-15 record in his first season. They swept the Pelicans in the first round of the playoffs.
Kerr beat out fellow finalists Doc Rivers of the Clippers, Stan Van Gundy of the Pistons, Brad Stevens of the Celtics and Dwane Casey of the Raptors.
The award is named for Rudy Tomjanovich, the former Michigan standout from Hamtramck who led the Rocjets to consecutive NBA titles in 1994-95 and was known for being respectful to the media.
... Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley had facial surgery in Memphis after he was injured during Game 3 of the playoff series against the Trail Blazers.
Conley was inadvertently elbowed in the face by Portland's CJ McCollum last weekend.
He was briefly hospitalized before returning to Memphis last weekend.
Beno Udrih, who sat out Game 3 with a sprained right ankle, was expected to start in Conley's place.