In an unprecedented feat, the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the defending champions Golden State Warriors in seven games to win the 2017 NBA Championship. Milwaukee was trailing by 11 points with just over 2 minutes left in the fourth quarter of Game 6 when the unthinkable occurred: Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Bucks scored 50 points. Just under two weeks earlier, Antetokounmpo scored 51 points in the playoffs as the Bucks beat the Celtics in Game 7.
The Milwaukee Bucks have been an exciting team to watch this season, and the team’s resurgence from a 22-win team to a championship contender is just one of the reasons. But, the team’s rise to the top was also thanks to star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, a rising star in the NBA who has become a household name this season with his performance on and off the court.
It is rare enough that the Milwaukee Bucks are in the NBA Finals, let alone that they are defending champions. But that is what happened last night, as Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks pulled out a 102-88 win over the Toronto Raptors to win the “Bucks are back” moment. Antetokounmpo finished with 50 points, 13 rebounds and six assists in one of the best individual performances in NBA Finals history, in a game that featured 21 lead changes and 14 ties.. Read more about nba finals game 6 box score and let us know what you think.
11:00 p.m. ET
ESPN’s Tim Bontemps
MILWAUKEE, Wis. — Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo declared after a legendary performance to close out the 2021 NBA Finals and win a championship for the first time in his career that he signed his five-year, supermax contract extension prior to the season because “there was a job that had to be finished,” and that staying in Milwaukee meant doing it the “hard way.”
“I simply couldn’t leave,” Antetokounmpo said after leading Milwaukee to a 105-98 win over the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, giving the Bucks their second title — and first in 50 years. “There was a task that needed to be completed.
“When I returned, I said to myself, ‘This is my city.’ They have faith in me. They have faith in me. They have faith in us.’ Obviously, I was eager to do the task. But that’s just my obstinacy. It’s simple to go someplace and help someone else win a championship. It’s simple…. I could join a great squad and just do my bit to help them win a championship.
“But this is the difficult way to do it, and this is the way to do it, and we did it,” he said, thumping the dais for emphasis. We f—-ed it up.”
1: Only player in NBA history to be named to 5 All-Star teams, 5 All-NBA teams, multiple MVPs, 1 Finals MVP, and 1 DPOY before turning 27.
2: Along with 1993-94, when Hakeem Olajuwon swept all three honors, players born outside the United States won MVP (Nikola Jokic), Finals MVP (Giannis Antetokounmpo), and DPOY (Rudy Gobert) in their second seasons.
3: Since the DPOY’s establishment in 1983, only Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon have won MVP, Finals MVP, and Defensive Player of the Year.
5: Hakeem Olajuwon joins Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and Hakeem Olajuwon as the fifth player born outside the United States to earn Finals MVP.
9: In his career, he is the ninth player to win multiple MVPs and a Finals MVP. Tim Duncan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are the only players under the age of 26 who have done so.
— ESPN Stats & Information
Antetokounmpo sat down at the dais with the Finals MVP trophy on one side and the Larry O’Brien Trophy on the other after arriving at the postgame press conference wearing goggles, holding a cigar, and sipping from a full bottle of champagne.
It was the pinnacle of a career that started in the Greek second division, where he initially established his name playing in Athens, before being selected 15th overall by the Bucks in 2013.
Antetokounmpo became upset as he attempted to explain how much all of their efforts and support meant to him over the years, from his mother to his late father, to his longterm fiancée, to his siblings.
He fought back tears as he added, “This is for my mother.” “She puts in a lot of effort every day for me to be in this position, and she never forced me to do anything else.” This is a gift for my father. He’s looking down from above, and he sees it. This is a gift for my partner. She inspires me to be a better person every day. She gives me the freedom to do what I need to do. She looks after my kid. As well as for my brothers.
“I can be obstinate at times. Because I want something so much, I can detach from the rest of the world. And I was able to get it, which is why I was crying. People, however, assisted me in achieving my position. This was not something I accomplished on my own. People aided me on a daily basis. I’d want to express my gratitude to everyone.”
With Milwaukee’s title hopes on the line, Antetokounmpo lifted the Bucks — and the more than 80,000 fans packed both inside and outside Fiserv Forum — onto his wide shoulders and carried them across the finish line.
Antetokounmpo scored 33 of his 50 points in the second half, bringing Milwaukee back from a halftime deficit and refusing to let this chance go away, matching Hall of Famer Bob Pettit’s record of 50 points in a closeout game.
After his struggles at the line had been a topic during the playoffs, he tore past Phoenix’s defense and went to the basket time and time again, making one free throw after another — ultimately finishing 17-for-19 for the game.
With a big grin, Antetokounmpo added, “People told me I couldn’t make free throws.” “I’m a friggin champion because I made my free throws today.”
“I finished them when I was supposed to finish them.”
Milwaukee had been the NBA’s most dominating team in the regular season for the previous two seasons, only to lose in the playoffs both times: in the Eastern Conference finals two years ago against the Toronto Raptors, and in the conference semifinals against the Miami Heat last year.
Antetokounmpo and the Bucks, on the other hand, returned with a determination to make this year different. Before the season, the club acquired Jrue Holiday, and during the season, they acquired P.J. Tucker. Instead of aiming to maximize the club’s regular-season success, coach Mike Budenholzer spent the season attempting to best prepare the squad for the playoffs.
And, once the postseason arrived, the Bucks’ bumps and bruises, as well as previous failures, enabled them to overcome deficits in each of their final three series, including 2-0 deficits to both the Brooklyn Nets in the Eastern Conference semifinals and the Suns in this one, before storming back to win.
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 50 points were tied for the most all time in a closeout game of the NBA Finals, per ESPN Stats & Information research. David Sherman/NBAE/Getty Images
They even overcame Antetokounmpo’s left knee hyperextension, an injury that occurred precisely three weeks ago and had the superstar forward believing he’d be sidelined for a year at the time.
Instead, he returned a week later and put up one of the greatest NBA Finals performances ever, averaging 35.2 points, 13.2 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.8 blocks per game while shooting 61.8 percent from the floor.
When asked whether he could have envisioned a moment like this when he first started playing basketball in Athens all those years ago, he said with a grin, “No, dude.” “I began playing basketball to support my family. I tried to pull them out of the battle, the difficulties we had as children.
“However, I never saw myself at 26 years old, playing in the NBA Finals with my team.” Just playing — like, I was just glad to be a part of this, of this trip, even if I wasn’t winning.
“However, I never imagined I’d be sitting here with this right here and this right here,” he said, referring to the two trophies beside him. “It’s been a long journey.”
He was also questioned what it means to him to represent Africa, given that both of his parents are Nigerians. He expressed the hope that his achievements will serve as a reminder to others of what is achievable for anybody, regardless of who they are or where they come from.
“Obviously, I represent my country,” Antetokounmpo added, referring to both Nigeria and Greece. “There were a lot of youngsters from there.” But it’s not just Nigeria; it’s all of Africa and Europe.
“I’m quite aware that I’m a role model.” However, this should inspire everyone, even children, to believe in their aspirations. Whatever you’re feeling when you’re down, when you don’t think it’s going to happen for you or when you think you won’t make it in your profession — whether it’s basketball or anything else — believe in yourself and keep working.
“Don’t allow anybody tell you who you can be or what you can’t do.” Believe me, dude. I hope that I have given people all around the globe, from Africa to Europe, hope that it is possible. It is possible.
“When I first joined the league eight years ago, eight and a half years ago, I had no idea where my next meal would come from. My mother was out on the street selling things. Now I’m sitting at the pinnacle of the pinnacle. I’m very fortunate. I’m very fortunate. I don’t mind if I never have another opportunity to sit at this table. That’s OK with me. I hope that this may inspire people all around the globe. I want them to believe in themselves and their ambitions.”
He also discussed his own incredible journey from an unknown quantity when he left Greece to a superstar who slowly, methodically developed himself into the superstar he is today, just as the Bucks have slowly, painstakingly built themselves into an NBA champion around Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton.
He remarked, “It’s been a long trip.” “Man, I’ve done it everything.” Just to get on the floor, just to be in this situation, I did all I could. I haven’t tried it yet. I’m no longer on the bench. I joined the team when I was 18 years old. I went to the front desk and requested that I be sent to the G League. I’ve previously held the position of point guard. I’ve only defended myself so far. Everything was slashed, even the corners. As a ball handler, I was able to lead in my fourth year.
“I’ve completed every task. That’s what I had to do tonight. I needed to be able to do a little bit of everything. It was my job to defend, rebound, and block. I tried my hand at everything.”
And now that he’s won one championship, Antetokounmpo says he’s not done yet.
Antetokounmpo described the sensation as “addictive.” “Playing in the playoffs is one of my favorite things to do. Playing in the Finals is one of my favorite things to do.
“These are the moments I’m looking for. I’d want the team to build on this, and maybe we’ll be able to repeat it.”
Thursday night, the Milwaukee Bucks won their first NBA title since 1971, and a little Greek Freak did the honors.. Read more about giannis antetokounmpo game 6 stats and let us know what you think.
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