But just when it looked as though the Suns would be able to go home and bag some rays before Game 3, Winters got hot again. He hit a tip-in and a fast-break layup, and then he scored off another rebound followed by a top-of-the-key jumper. Finally he faked Westphal out of his shoes with a stutter-step lean-in. By halftime the Bucks had stormed back to within three, 52-49.
Now we come again to the part when Johnson talks to himself. His first half had not been that bad this time—14 points—but tonight he was really determined. "I just said to myself, 'Marques, it's time.' "
Westphal began the second half with a layup before Meyers and Winters hit jumpers to make it 54-53 Phoenix. Then Johnson took matters into his own hands, scoring the Bucks' next 13 points in 5� minutes with a turnaround jumper and a slam dunk in Heard's face, a baseline jumper, a tap-in, a layup and three free throws. He put in 17 of Milwaukee's 22 points in the third period. Still, the Suns had their chances to send the series back to Phoenix.
Down 89-88 with 3:25 to go, Davis, who had missed seven straight outside shots in the third period, blew a six-footer. Then Westphal had an open 18-footer. It bounced off the rim. Winters hit a jumper from the left corner with Buse draped on him at 1:49, and then Westphal stole the ball from Buckner and laid it in to make the score 91-90. With 47 seconds left, Davis had the ball on the left side, and the Suns cleared out so he could go one-on-one against Johnson. Davis tried a 12-footer. Johnson blocked it—a final "in your face" for his rival—and a moment later the ball went out of bounds off Heard.
Now Winters had the ball, killing the clock but desperately wanting a basket. With the 24-second clock down to :03, he slipped behind a Gianelli screen and, with Adams all over him, launched the 23-footer that put the Suns in total eclipse.
Inside the winners' dressing room, one might have expected to find the exuberant youths popping champagne corks. Not these Bucks. "The Suns are the ones who should be excited," said Forward Alex English. "They're going to the sunshine. We're just going to Denver."