‘Greek Freak’ leads Bucks to first title in 50 years
Updated: Sep 7, 2021
The Milwaukee Bucks are your 2021 NBA champions! Led by the "Greek Freak,” Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks won their second championship in franchise history since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson led them to victory 50 years ago.
The Suns took a commanding 2-0 lead with their electric backcourt duo of veteran, Hall of Fame-bound point guard Chris Paul, and young, scoring machine shooting guard Devin Booker, combining for an absurd 113 points through the first two games. The Suns were destroying the Bucks in the pick-and-roll and switching various guys like Bobby Portis and Brook Lopez onto Paul, where he would either use his quickness to enter into the lane or dance on them for a step-back jumper. The Bucks had no answer for the Suns the first two games, with Khris Middleton putting up a dud in Game 2 and Jrue Holiday being underwhelming in his first two performances as well.
However, the Bucks coach, Mike Budenholzer and superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, swept the next four games of the series to capture the Bucks second championship in franchise history, and the organization’s first in 50 years. Stating Antetokounmpo was great would be an understatement. What he did in the NBA Finals was unprecedented. A player who hyper-extended his left knee in Game 4 of the Atlanta series came back to will his franchise to a championship in historic fashion. Antetokounmpo is the first player in NBA Finals history to ever average over 30 points per game, 10 rebounds per game, and five assists on 50% shooting or better. He was also just the seventh player to score 50 points in the finals, along with his 14 rebounds, and five blocks, joining Michael Jordan, Rick Barry, Bob Pettit, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, and LeBron James.
As is the case with all champions, Antetokounmpo had assistance from his teammates. Holiday had some ugly games in this series, as was the case in the closeout game, as well as some good games, like Game 5 where he had 27 points. Overall, it was his unmatched one-on-one defense against Paul and Booker - giving them full court pressure and making them work for their points all series long - that displayed why he’s one of the very best defensive guards in the league. Portis also came up big in games, providing a spark off the bench for them, while PJ Tucker brought toughness and grittiness, and Pat Connaughton hit big three pointers. Brook Lopez also had his moments, while Middleton had hot and cold games. However, Middleton hit clutch shots in crucial moments for his team, with a big shot and free throws in the closing game, down the stretch to seal the deal on their championship in Game 6, showing why he’s the “Robin” to Antetokounmpo’s “Batman.”
The Suns lost once again in the NBA Finals, but they have two young stars in Ayton and Booker to build around for the foreseeable future. The real question is Paul’s impending player option. Will he opt out of his contract after a bitter loss in his first trip to the NBA Finals and his best chance at winning a ring? Overall, this was the Antetokounmpo series.The “Greek Freak” has put the NBA on notice, joining Jordan as the only two ever to win multiple MVPs, DPOY, and Finals MVP, considered the old school way, by accomplishing it with the team that drafted him.