The Milwaukee Bucks and their supporters will not recall the beauty of Game 6 of the NBA Finals 2021.
All they will remember is the pleasure of winning a championship and Giannis Antetokounmpo’s career-defining performance as a two-time MVP.
On Tuesday, the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Phoenix Suns 105-98 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, claiming the city’s first title since 1971, when Oscar Robertson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar led the Bucks to victory against the Baltimore Bullets.
And as expected from Antetokounmpo, a two-time MVP, led the Bucks to a season-defining victory.
Antetokounmpo, who was named Finals MVP, scored 50 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, and blocked five shots. Just as significant as his 16-for-25 shooting from the field was, the infamously below-average free throw shooter hit 17-of-19 foul throws.
According to basketball-reference.com, his 50 points were the 6th highest scoring effort in Finals history.
Milwaukee has proven itself to be the more poised team in the series’ last three games – all of which were tight battles.
Milwaukee beat Phoenix 28-21 in the 4th quarter of a 77-77 contest after three quarters. With 56.9 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Khris Middleton’s mid-range shot rewarded the Bucks a 102-96 advantage.
The Bucks are the sixth team in NBA history to lose the initial two games and later win the championship. Antetokounmpo, along with Hall of Famer Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls, is the only player in NBA history to have won Defensive Player of the Year, MVP, All-Star Game MVP, and Finals MVP.
The following are four critical lessons from Milwaukee’s shutout victory:
The two-time MVP — and first Finals MVP — played his 3rd game in the Finals with at least 40 points to go along with another with at least 30.
He scored 20 points in the 3rd quarter and 30 in the paint, where he controlled throughout the series.
While he did outmuscle the Suns at the rim, his free throws in a closeout game were critical in a close game. It was the career-best free-throw shooting performance.
Antetokounmpo had a memorable night. He had an early block, and his defensive effort, coupled with his offence, ensured that the series would not return to Phoenix for Game 7.