Giannis Antetokounmpo does it all in Bucks’ first title in 50 years

0 1

Article content

They can’t deny Giannis Antetokounmpo, any more.

Advertisement

Article content

The Greek Freak is an NBA champion, an NBA Finals MVP and the main reason the city of Milwaukee is celebrating its first NBA title in 50 years.

For whatever reason, Antetokounmpo, as good as he has been winning two league MVPs before he even reached a Finals, never seemed to get the respect other elite players in the NBA automatically were given.

But following this run, particularly the six games that made up these Finals, there can no longer be any question that Antetokounmpo is among that group that we call the greatest players in the game today.

Antetokounmpo didn’t come right out and say it as LeBron James did last September when he and the Lakers were crowned champs, but James’ words — “I want my damn respect” — could have easily been repeated last night by Milwaukee’s star.

Advertisement

Article content

Antetokounmpo began this series a question mark to even play, having sustained a hyper-extended knee two games earlier in the Eastern Conference final.

He played in that Game 1, albeit clearly not at full strength. But from that point on, Antetokounmpo has been other-worldly, overcoming whatever resistance the Phoenix Suns could put in his path.

He was so good, that even questions about his health stopped for good around Game 3. There was just no way he could still be hurt and playing at that level.

He capped the series off with his best performance of the bunch in Tuesday night’s 105-98 series-clinching win. Antetokounmpo had 50 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks in the game.

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

“He’s a freak,” forward Pat Connaughton said of Antetokounmpo. “He’s always been a freak, and the things that he does in the weight room, the things that he does in physical therapy, the things he does to put his body in a position to go through the beating he goes through on a nightly basis, couple that with a hyper-extended knee, for him to be back in a game in the Finals in general was freakish.

Advertisement

Article content

“And then for him to do what he did throughout this Finals was incredible,” Connaughton said. “It’s awesome to have a front-row seat to it and awesome to watch it and it’s incredible because he’s an even better human being than he is a basketball player.

“We’ve all seen what he does on the biggest stage now after winning his first NBA Finals championship and being the Finals MVP, but he’s an even better person.”

Even his night at the free throw line, perhaps the one area of Antetokounmpo’s game that still lacks consistency, was beyond criticism as he knocked down 17 of his 19 attempts.

It was his third 40-plus point night in a series in which he may have been as exceptional defensively as he was offensively.

Giannis Antetokounmpo (left) of the Milwaukee Bucks celebrates with teammate P.J. Tucker in the final seconds before defeating the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 to win the 2021 NBA Finals at Fiserv Forum on July 20, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Giannis Antetokounmpo (left) of the Milwaukee Bucks celebrates with teammate P.J. Tucker in the final seconds before defeating the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 to win the 2021 NBA Finals at Fiserv Forum on July 20, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Few will ever forget his recovery to block what looked like a sure slam sunk from DeAndre Ayton to win Game 4 and get the Bucks back on even terms with Phoenix.

Advertisement

Article content

He became just the seventh player in NBA history to score 50 in a Finals game.

Afterwards as the celebration began on the floor, Antetokounmpo, after seeking out and hugging his family members on hand, made his way to an unoccupied area of seats and sat by himself, the emotion of the moment just taking over. Later in his media availability, he was asked what he had been thinking about as he sat there.

“The whole journey,” Antetokounmpo said, the tears resurfacing as he thought back to his childhood in Greece where just securing enough food for the next family meal was a hardship. “In order for me to be in this position, how much my parents sacrificed. How much my parents sacrificed. I saw that every day.

“My mom, she worked extremely hard every day for me to be in this position and she never pressured me to do other things. This is for my dad; that he’s watching from above and he can see it. And this is for my significant other, also. Every day, she helps me be better, a better person. She let me do what I’m supposed to do, and she takes care of my son and my next son.”

Advertisement

Article content

Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks celebrates winning the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP Award after defeating the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 to win the 2021 NBA Finals at Fiserv Forum on July 20, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks celebrates winning the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP Award after defeating the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 to win the 2021 NBA Finals at Fiserv Forum on July 20, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Bucks looked like they were going to run away with this game from the outset.

They came out of the gate a little nervous, but no more than the Suns were with both teams committing uncharacteristic turnovers.

But by the end of the quarter the Bucks were up 13 and the city of Milwaukee was buzzing. In addition to the full house inside Fiserv Forum, there were a reported 65,000 other fans surrounding the building outside.

But that group was going to have to hold off on the celebrations just a little longer as Chris Paul and the Suns weren’t going to let it happen that easy.

Paul, almost by himself, almost forced a Game 7.

He would finish with a Suns-best 26 points including a huge second quarter in which the Suns turned a 13-point deficit into a five-point lead at the half.

Advertisement

Article content

The second half, though, was the Antetokounmpo show as the 26-year-old two-time MVP just took over the game, scoring 20 points in the quarter.

Again the Suns wouldn’t let the Bucks get away, keeping it close until the home side finally started to open up some distance between themselves and those stubborn Suns in the final few minutes.

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

Down the stretch it was a lot of Antetokounmpo again and just enough Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday and a dose of Bobby Portis to get it done.

Antetokounmpo was a unanimous selection for Finals MVP getting all 11 votes cast for the Bill Russell Award.

It was a no-brainer. Both Middleton and Holiday had their moments in this series, but it was Antetokounmpo who was the constant threat either protecting his own basket or attacking the opposition’s.

[email protected]

Advertisement

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! Swift Telecast is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.