The nerves were there for both teams to start this one. Within the first few minutes of play, it was clear that neither team could develop a strong shooting groove. However, the Bucks were able to take advantage enough and overcome their turnovers in the first. Through ten Giannis Antetokounmpo points and a pair of threes from Bobby Portis off the bench, Milwaukee overtook Phoenix in the opening 12 minutes and carried a 29-16 advantage into the second quarter.
All of the momentum that the Bucks had generated in the closing minutes of the first quarter came to a grinding halt to start the second. Phoenix would race out on a 10-0 run, slicing Milwaukee’s lead down to just single digits. The Suns would continue their run, eventually overtaking the Bucks and gaining their biggest lead of the night to that point. Milwaukee wouldn’t be able to muster anything the remainder of the half. When halftime rolled around, they found themselves down, 47-42. Turnovers (11) and poor shooting (3-of-17 from deep) by the Bucks would be what doomed them in the opening two quarters.
The Bucks needed a strong start to the third quarter, and they’d get one. Midway through the quarter, Giannis Antetokounmpo would singlehandedly muscle his way and provide Milwaukee with the lead once again. It’d feature a lot of back-and-forth action, with both teams not budging an inch. Going into the final quarter of regulation, it was as even as you could get — tied at 77 apiece.
The fourth would be the most nervewracking quarter that Milwaukee Bucks fans have ever experienced. However, due to the play from Giannis Antetokounmpo, who became the first player since Bob Pettit in 1958 to record 50 points in a close-out game. His incredible effort helped the Bucks do the unthinkable — winning the NBA Finals. They did it. The Bucks would go on to defeat the Phoenix Suns 105-98, earning their first championship in 50 years.
What Did We Learn?
I’m just going to put the obvious here and discuss other things in the three observations. THE MILWAUKEE BUCKS ARE WORLD CHAMPIONS.
Giannis Antetokounmpo just had one of the greatest NBA Finals performances of all-time.
I mean, I’m at a loss of words. The performance he put on in this NBA Finals is historic, and there’s no other way about it. Whenever anybody doubts Giannis (I’m referencing prior to this series after his knee injury in Atlanta), he proves them wrong. What an absolute display he put on tonight. 50 points in a closeout game. Just unfathomable. And what about his free throws? After all the talking about his poor free throw shooting, he silenced the critics in Game 6 by going 17-of-19. Just absolutely unreal.
Bobby Portis’ energy is pure insanity.
Right out of the opening gates, the energy and passion that Bobby Portis has exhibited all postseason long was on full display. The Bucks needed every bit of it. From hitting a three to getting into it with Chris Paul, Portis put everything into it and poured it on with his 16 points off the bench. It can’t be stated as to how big of an acquisition he was by Jon Horst, as he not just brought it all postseason long, but even dating back to the regular season. Just a massive addition to the roster and seeing him pour out those types of emotions made me realize something:
bobby portis could get me fired up to fold laundry— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) July 21, 2021
Jrue Holiday didn’t have the best offensive game, but man, was he a force on the defensive end.
We’re all aware as to how Jrue Holiday had a bit of a rollercoaster postseason on the offensive end. However, one thing that was always a constant force was his defense. There wasn’t a game that went by where he didn’t put that on full display, and tonight was another example. His defense was stellar on Chris Paul and even Devin Booker at times. The addition he brought forth to this team was everything it was thought to be and he was a massive part as to why the Bucks won the Finals.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- The Deer District atmosphere was off the charts. I’ve been covering Bucks games for five years, and I’ve never thought I would ever see anything like that in my time covering the team. It really epitomized the dream that was set forth as Fiserv Forum was planned. Just insane.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo’s postgame availability was incredible:
Giannis Antetokounmpo is at the podium. pic.twitter.com/mj5Wo33kAW— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) July 21, 2021
Giannis: "I MADE MY FREE THROWS AND I'M A FREAKING CHAMPION."— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) July 21, 2021
Giannis gives a shoutout to John Hammond.— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) July 21, 2021
"He made me feel like I was his son."
Giannis: "I can't stop. That's my personality. I'm not stopping."— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) July 21, 2021
More Giannis: "This is my city. They believe in us."— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) July 21, 2021
Giannis on Khris: "There's nobody I'd rather do this journey with than that guy."— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) July 21, 2021
Giannis on what he wants next: A time machine so he can go back in time to win the Rookie of the Year. He then continues to joke that he wants to win Sixth Man of the Year.— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) July 21, 2021
If you haven’t, watch Giannis’ presser in its full entirety. Just an incredibly sincere discussion and one that will surely create tears in the eyes of any Bucks fan.
- An inside look at the festivities:
Inside the locker room after the Bucks WIN THE NBA CHAMPIONSHIP!! pic.twitter.com/TXa62EnJdM— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) July 21, 2021
- Literally a fairytale ending:
Giannis immediately celebrated his NBA Championship with his family following the buzzer pic.twitter.com/ddyrXcP6pr— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) July 21, 2021
- And last, I leave you with this. It’s nearly 4 a.m. and I’m incredibly sleepy. I’m sure so much more content will come out tomorrow, feel free to link to it in the comments below. The Milwaukee Bucks are World Champions.