Fifty years. Fifty factors.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was legendary. He even hit his free throws.
The Greek Freak wasn’t going to be denied. The 6-foot-11 locomotive saved his greatest for final as he single-handedly carried the Bucks to their first NBA championship in 50 years Tuesday with 50 factors, 14 rebounds, 5 blocks and a spectacular-for-him displaying from the free-throw line.
And when it was over, there have been tears in Antetokounmpo’s eyes as he celebrated this 105-98 Recreation 6 victory over Phoenix.
It was eight years within the making for the reason that Bucks chosen the thin Greek child with the fifteenth decide of the 2013 draft. A two-time MVP now has an NBA Finals MVP for his battle chest after turning into the seventh participant to achieve the 50-point mark in a Finals sport.
He lifted coach Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer within the air. On the rostrum, Antetokounmpo hugged co-star Khris Middleton and screamed “We f—–g did it’’ — the primary championship ceremony for the Bucks since 1971.
His free-throw capturing an albatross all playoffs, Antetokounmpo made 17 of 19 from the foul line within the greatest sport of his profession. He posted three 40-point-plus video games within the Finals.
“Folks informed me I can’t make free throws,’’ Antetokounmpo mentioned within the postgame press convention during which he choked up. “I made my free throws tonight and I’m a freaking champion. … I needed it so dangerous. If I by no means sit at this desk once more, I’m effective with it.’’
Antetokounmpo held the NBA championship trophy in his left arm and the Invoice Russell MVP silverware in his proper. He invoked his brother, Thanasis — his Bucks teammate who was out due to COVID-19 protocols — at first of his press convention.
“I by no means thought ever I’d be 26 years previous taking part in within the NBA Finals — not even simply successful — and maintain these two [trophies],’’ Antetokounmpo mentioned.
“It’s straightforward to go to someplace and win a championship elsewhere. I might to a superteam and do my half and win a championship. However that is the arduous solution to do it and we did it. We f—–g did it.’’
Then he kissed the 2 trophies.
“It’s arduous to search out extra phrases to explain what Giannis does,’’ Budenholzer mentioned. “However the best way he made his free throws, the best way he did all the pieces, stepped up, the poise, the boldness, the management. We are saying we wish Giannis to get to the free throw line. We imagine. We talked about it this previous summer time. To win a championship, you’ve bought to make free throws. He made free throws. He’s off the charts.’’
His inconceivable sidekick on this evening was ex-Knick Bobby Portis, who added 16 factors off the bench on an evening Middleton (17 factors) and Jrue Vacation (12 factors) weren’t on the prime of their offensive video games.
For Phoenix, the loss meant Chris Paul, 36, didn’t get his first ring nor did the Suns earn their first title. Now Phoenix has choices to make about Paul’s future as he has an opt-out clause he reportedly could train.
“This one will damage for some time,’’ Paul mentioned. “Everybody in that locker room knew we had sufficient, but it surely wasn’t sufficient.’’
Paul had a robust sport (26 factors), however sidekick Devin Booker regarded lower than assured many of the evening and put forth a 19-point, five-turnover, 0-for-7-from-3 clunker. His wide-open 3-point miss with 56 seconds left and the Suns down six sealed the Bucks’ title.
Recreation 6 was performed earlier than 17,000 at Fiserv Discussion board and an estimated 60,000-plus jubilant followers exterior within the expanded Deer District watching on banks of big video screens.
The season began with no followers in Milwaukee. The theatrics had been a becoming finish to a pandemic season that, contemplating all the pieces, went as easily as might have been anticipated.
The Suns led by 5 at intermission regardless of an enormous half from Antetokounmpo, who poured in 17 factors. His spotlight got here when he blocked Mikal Bridges’ drive and scored a layup in transition.
Within the third quarter, the Bucks rallied to take the lead as Antetokonmpo took over, scoring 10 of their first 14 factors. He completed with 20 within the interval. Early within the fourth, Antetokounmpo fought off two defenders, muscling his manner for a runner that missed. However he powered up and grabbed the ball for the putback.
Budenholzer determined towards rolling with the Greek Freak for all the second half. When he rested, the Suns climbed again and knotted the rating at 77 getting into the fourth quarter. Antetokounmpo had 37 going into the ultimate interval.
“There was a job that needed to be completed,’’ Antetokounmpo mentioned. “I needed to get the job finished.’’