Champs! Bucks Win First Title Since 1971
The Milwaukee Bucks are champions for the first time in 50 years. As much as this was a team victory, and there were plenty of players that contributed in every facet of the game, one stood out. Giannis Antetokounmpo did everything in his power to lift his team his city and state to the top of the NBA mountain.
Just a little more than three weeks after suffering a scary hyperextended knee, Antetokounmpo proved once and for all Tuesday night that he is superhuman. He scored 50 points in a 105-98 victory over the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 of the NBA Finals and made history along the way.
Holding back emotions, he also accepted the NBA Finals MVP trophy. His 50 points were tied for the most all-time in a closeout game of the NBA Finals, equaling Bob Pettit's 50 points for the St. Louis Hawks at home in Game 6 of the 1958 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics.
The Bucks came back from a 0-2 deficit to beat the Suns in four straight games and claim this NBA championship, the franchise's first since 1971 and second ever. It was only a few years ago that the Bucks could win only 15 games in a season and couldn’t come close to selling out an arena.
And then Antetokounmpo changed the landscape.
But it would not be easy. It was evident immediately that both the Bucks and Suns, brought into the NBA together as expansion franchises in 1968 and going for their first titles in five decades (or ever), felt the nerves and the pressure of Game 6. The team that could pull itself together would win.
He’s the reason the Bucks thwarted ever Suns rally. Antetokounmpo threw the Bucks on his back and marched to the rim. He did it all. Blocked shots, steals, rebounds and tremednous defense. There wasn’t anything Antetokounmpo didn’t do.
Then there were the free throws. Shooting 17 of 19 from the line, Antetokounmpo excised his own demons and devastated the Suns, whose only strategy defensively was to hack him, apparently.
As the clock wound down at the end of the game, Antetokounmpo paced around the court, allowing himself finally to feel the crowd, the appreciation for the moment. He was humble thanking Khris Middletown who has been there with him from the start eight years ago and all his teammates, coaches and the fans. Congratulations Milwaukee! This championship is well deserved.