Milwaukee Bucks fans celebrate winning the NBA Finals

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Reuters 21 July, 2021 - 04:10am 10 views

Who got Finals MVP this year?

Giannis Antetokounmpo wins 2021 NBA Finals MVP: Bucks star becomes youngest winner since Kawhi Leonard in 2014. Giannis Antetokounmpo was crowned NBA Finals MVP after leading the Milwaukee Bucks to their first championship since 1971 in a six-game series win over the Phoenix Suns. CBSSports.comGiannis Antetokounmpo wins 2021 NBA Finals MVP: Bucks star becomes youngest winner since Kawhi Leonard in 2014

Who won the NBA championship this year 2021?

2021 NBA Finals: Bucks beat Suns in Game 6 to win NBA title; Giannis scores 50, wins Finals MVP. The Athletic2021 NBA Finals: Bucks beat Suns in Game 6 to win NBA title; Giannis scores 50, wins Finals MVP

What did Giannis average in the Finals?

He became the first player to record multiple 30-point halves in a single NBA Finals over the last 40 years. With 35.2 points, 13.2 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.8 blocks, he became the first player in NBA history to average 30 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and one block on 50% shooting in a single playoff run. Milwaukee Journal SentinelMilwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo wins NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award

MILWAUKEE -- The closest Chris Paul has ever got to the coveted championship that's eluded him throughout his 16-year career ended up leaving him feeling still so far away from that initial title. The Milwaukee Bucks beat the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday, as the Suns became just the fifth team in Finals history to lose after starting the series up 2-0.

"It will take a while to process this or whatnot, but it's same mentality," Paul said after the Bucks' 105-98 series clincher. "Get back to work. I ain't retiring, if that's what you're asking. That's out. So, back to work."

The 36-year-old Paul finished with 26 points on 11-for-19 shooting and five assists in the championship finale, keeping the Suns in striking distance of Milwaukee -- they trailed by just four points with 1:14 remaining -- but it wasn't enough to force a Game 7 back in Phoenix.

"Right now, you're just trying to figure out what you could have done more," Paul said. "It's tough. Great group of guys, hell of a season, but this one is going to hurt for a while."

Paul has a player option worth $44.2 million for next season, and while plenty of contenders around the league could use a point guard of his ilk to make a push next season -- hello, Los Angeles Lakers -- he didn't sound like someone looking to leave a team stocked with young talent like Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton that took him two wins from the promised land that quickly.

"Everybody in that locker room knows we had enough, but it wasn't enough," Paul said. "So, we got to figure it out. I think for me, I just look at myself and figure out how can I get better, what I could have done more and make sure I come back next season ready to do it again."

"It's laughable when you talk about guys like Chris who have had these unreal careers and yet they get penalized because they haven't won a title," Williams said. "That was my goal, was to win it for him and Book; those guys have carried us all year long. And Chris, this is my second time coaching him; I know what he puts into his craft, I know the dedication. And so when I hear those sentiments about his career because he hasn't won a championship, it's just silly. It's hard enough to make it to the NBA, let alone be an all-time great, which is what he is."

Booker, who dropped two 40-point games in the series but struggled in Game 6 with 19 points on 8-for-22 shooting and six turnovers -- including going 2-for-7 in the fourth quarter, when the Bucks pulled away after it was tied 77-77 after three -- said the Suns' playoff run set a new standard for the franchise.

"Championship basketball and nothing less than that," as Booker described it, after Phoenix made the postseason for the first time in 11 years. "So, going into next season on a Tuesday night playing against Cleveland, if we don't have it, we will be quickly reminded about the details. And if you don't want to give it your all right now, what can happen and this feeling right now that we're feeling can happen.

"So, this isn't something you want to feel. I haven't felt a hurt like this in my life. So, that's what I say when I know we have a base and a foundation, just championship basketball at all times."

Williams fought back tears during his postgame remarks when asked what it was like in the moment to process the result of a Suns season that fell just short.

"I think it's going to take me a minute," Williams said, his voice getting caught in his throat. "I just don't take it for granted. It's hard to get here, and I wanted it so bad, you know. It's hard to process right now. It's hard. That's all."

Summing up the alchemy of the Suns group, however, it wasn't all sorrow for the team that ousted the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, swept league MVP Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets, eliminated the LA Clippers and gave the Bucks all they could handle with a title on the line.

"Even though we lost," Ayton said as he bounded out of the interview room, "it was still fun."

Read full article at Reuters

The Milwaukee Bucks are NBA champions for the first time in 50 years as Antetokounmpo scores 50 points

CNN 21 July, 2021 - 11:02am

Updated 8:51 AM ET, Wed July 21, 2021

CNN's Jill Martin contributed to this report.

Jim Polzin: Thank you, Giannis — a humble superstar and a deserving champion

Madison.com 21 July, 2021 - 11:02am

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo celebrates during the Bucks' 105-98 victory over the Phoenix Suns Tuesday night at Fiserv Forum.

You have to plan in this business and – it’s time to be transparent here – we were planning for the worst on the morning of June 30.

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo later admitted that he’d gone to bed the previous night fearing his season was over. That certainly appeared to be a strong possibility after his left knee had bent backward in an awful manner during the third quarter of a loss to the Atlanta Hawks in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Even TNT analyst Reggie Miller was having a hard time staying composed as he watched the situation unfold. “Someone’s down,” Miller said. “And it looks like it’s Giannis grabbing that right – or excuse me – that left knee. Oh, no. Oh, my goodness.”

The Bucks went on to lose 110-88 and, even though the series was tied 2-2 and going back to Milwaukee, it was hard to keep your mind from drifting toward doom and gloom: Was this the latest gut-punching moment in what had been a decade of heartbreak for Wisconsin sports fans since the Green Bay Packers won a Super Bowl in February 2011?

Back to that morning and the moment of transparency. A staff email circulated, basically asking if it was time to get the ball rolling on a potential story that would document all the near misses since that glorious night in North Texas.

Those same Aaron Rodgers-led Packers, seemingly headed for a dynasty, haven’t even gotten back to the Super Bowl, losing four times in the NFC Championship Game.

The Brewers losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers at Miller Park in Game 7 of the 2018 National League Championship Series seven years after they also blew home-field advantage during a loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in an NLCS that went six games.

The University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team losing close games to Kentucky in the 2014 Final Four and to Duke in the title game the following season. Some near misses by the Badgers volleyball team, who knocked on the championship door but couldn’t bust through it.

And even these Bucks, who were a No. 1 seed each of the previous two years but couldn’t get over the hump, including wasting a 2-0 lead to the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals.

And now, the superstar who had signed a five-year, $228.2 million supermax extension last summer to remain in Milwaukee was clutching his knee as another golden opportunity for an elusive title sports fans in Wisconsin could wrap their arms around seemed to be slipping away.

Three weeks later, Antetokounmpo and the Bucks are champions – and what a glorious run it was.

I didn’t think it was possible to be more in awe of Giannis the freak athlete than I already was. Then came “The Block” to help close out Game 4, “The Alley-Oop Dunk Heard Around the World” to help seal Game 5 and the brilliance of his 50-point effort in Game 6.

Nor did I think it was possible to be more impressed with the off-the-court version of Antetokounmpo than I already was. The dude is so likeable, his attitude so refreshing, and that endearing personality was on full display during coverage of the NBA Finals.

Antetokounmpo’s news conferences were must-see events, and my favorite moment came midway through the Finals when Sam Amick, a national reporter for The Athletic, asked him a great question about his lack of ego.

“I figured out a mindset to have that when you focus on the past, that’s your ego,” Antetokounmpo said. “I did this. We were able to beat this team 4-0. I did this in the past. I won that in the past. When I focus on the future, it’s my pride. Yeah, next game, Game 5, I do this and this and this. I’m going to dominate. That’s your pride talking. It doesn’t happen. You’re right here.

“I kind of try to focus on the moment, in the present. That’s humility. That’s being humble. That’s not setting no expectation. That’s going out there, enjoying the game, competing at a high level. I think I’ve had people throughout my life that helped me with that. But that is a skill that I’ve tried to, like, kind of — how do you say, perfect it.”

What a great answer – and great advice to follow, whether you’re a youngster trying to get better at a sport or an adult trying to get better at, well, life.

One final moment of transparency: When Antetokounmpo’s future was up in the air prior to him signing the supermax, part of me wondered whether he’d be making a huge mistake by staying in Milwaukee. He’d done his part to make the Bucks relevant and bring joy to the city and state, after all, so I wasn’t about to begrudge him if he chose to go chase a title elsewhere.

If that thought ever entered his mind, it didn’t remain there for long. After the final buzzer sounded Tuesday night and chaos ensued inside the Fiserv Forum, Antetokounmpo delivered some hugs before finding a chair on the baseline and shedding tears as he took in the scene.

Later, he explained why he couldn’t leave Milwaukee.

“There was a job that had to be finished,” Antetokounmpo said.

“Coming back, I was like, this is my city,” he added. “They trust me, they believed in me, they believed in us. Even when we lost, the city was still on our side. Obviously I wanted to get the job done. But that’s my stubborn side. It’s easy to go somewhere and win a championship with somebody else. I could go to a super team and just do my part and win a championship. But this is the hard way to do it …

“And we did it. We (expletive) did it.”

That you did, Giannis, and thanks for bringing us along for the ride. After a decade of heartbreak, Wisconsin sports fans needed that joy more than you can imagine.

Fans of the Milwaukee Bucks celebrate in “Deer District” outside Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee. The space was expanded to accommodate 65,000 fans but still overflowed.

From left, Milwaukee Bucks fans Nate Lauber Shelly Rosenkranz and Chris Daniels, all of Fond du Lac, Wis. celebrate in the “Deer District” outside Fiserv Forum where the team played the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 of the NBA Championship in Milwaukee, Wis., Tuesday, July 20, 2021. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL

Fans of the Milwaukee Bucks celebrate in the “Deer District” outside Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wis., Tuesday, July 20, 2021. The team earned a 105-98 win over the Phoenix Suns to win their first NBA Championship title since 1971. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL

Fans of the Milwaukee Bucks celebrate during the first quarter in the “Deer District” outside Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wis., Tuesday, July 20, 2021. The team earned a 105-98 win over the Phoenix Suns to win their first NBA Championship title since 1971. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL

Fans of the Milwaukee Bucks celebrate during the fourth quarter as the team earned a 105-98 win over the Phoenix Suns to win their first NBA championship since 1971.

Milwaukee Bucks fans celebrate during the fourth quarter Tuesday night in the Deer District outside Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee.

Jesus Villegas, of Sheboygan, encourages Bucks fans outside Fiserv Forum Tuesday.

Fans watch history unfold outside Fiserv Forum as the Milwaukee Bucks win their first NBA championship in 50 years.

Sam Schmitt of Cross Plains, Wis. has a beer can added to his antler-themed headware in the “Deer District” outside Fiserv Forum where the team played the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 of the NBA Championship in Milwaukee, Wis., Tuesday, July 20, 2021. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL

Fans of the Milwaukee Bucks celebrate during the fourth quarter in the “Deer District” outside Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wis., Tuesday, July 20, 2021. The team earned a 105-98 win over the Phoenix Suns to win their first NBA Championship title since 1971. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL

Fans of Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokoumpo await entrance to the game n the “Deer District” outside Fiserv Forum where the team played the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 of the NBA Championship in Milwaukee, Wis., Tuesday, July 20, 2021. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL

Milwaukee Bucks fans gather in the “Deer District” outside Fiserv Forum where the team played the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 of the NBA Championship in Milwaukee, Wis., Tuesday, July 20, 2021. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL

Greg Lambrecht of Milwaukee, Wis. joins Milwaukee Bucks fans in the “Deer District” outside Fiserv Forum where the team played the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 of the NBA Championship in Milwaukee, Wis., Tuesday, July 20, 2021. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL

Milwaukee Bucks fans in the “Deer District” celebrate outside Fiserv Forum where the team played the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 of the NBA Championship in Milwaukee, Wis., Tuesday, July 20, 2021. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL

Milwaukee Bucks fans with a “Fear the Deer” slogan incorporated into his braids makes his way through the “Deer District” outside Fiserv Forum where the team played the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 of the NBA Championship in Milwaukee, Wis., Tuesday, July 20, 2021. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL

Milwaukee Bucks fans gather in the “Deer District” outside Fiserv Forum where the team played the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 of the NBA Championship in Milwaukee, Wis., Tuesday, July 20, 2021. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL

Milwaukee Bucks fans gather in the “Deer District” outside Fiserv Forum where the team played the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 of the NBA Championship in Milwaukee, Wis., Tuesday, July 20, 2021. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL

Milwaukee Bucks fans gather in the “Deer District” outside Fiserv Forum where the team played the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 of the NBA Championship in Milwaukee, Wis., Tuesday, July 20, 2021. BARRY ADAMS, STATE JOURNAL

Milwaukee Bucks fans watch from the top level of a parking ramp adjacent to the Fiserv Forum’s “Deer District” where the team played the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 of the NBA Championship in Milwaukee, Wis., Tuesday, July 20, 2021. BARRY ADAMS, STATE JOURNAL

Contact Jim Polzin at jpolzin@madison.com.

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Jim Polzin covers Wisconsin Badgers men's basketball for the Wisconsin State Journal.

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Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo celebrates during the Bucks' 105-98 victory over the Phoenix Suns Tuesday night at Fiserv Forum.

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