Two shootings leave 3 wounded in Milwaukee during celebration of Bucks' NBA championship


ESPN 21 July, 2021 - 06:38am 16 views

Who won NBA Finals MVP?

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

How old is Giannis Antetokounmpo?

The "Greek Freak" did not disappoint this NBA finals game 6. Anteto dominated the game both in defense and offense. His 20 points in a quarter are the most of any player in the last 25 seasons. The Greek was born to break records, and he is only 26 years old. AS EnglishGiannis Antetokounmpo NBA Finals MVP: what records and titles has he got at age 26?

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Giannis Antetokounmpo's signature performance secures NBA title for Milwaukee Bucks

Yahoo Sports 21 July, 2021 - 08:00am

Dan Wetzel, Pat Forde, Pete Thamel

In a historic performance worthy of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who last led the Bucks to a title in 1971, Antetokounmpo scored 33 of his 50 points after halftime of Game 6 to beat the Phoenix Suns, 105-98.   

Antetokounmpo marked one of the great Finals performances in NBA history with 16 of 25 field goals, 17 of 19 free throws, 14 rebounds and five blocks in 42 minutes. After losing the first two games of the series, Milwaukee won four straight. Antetokounmpo scored 41 points in Game 3, secured Game 4 with an iconic game-saving block, clinched Game 5 with a legendary alley-oop dunk and dropped a 50 spot in Game 6.

Finals MVP recipients do not get more obvious.

"This should make every person, every kid, everybody around the world believe in their dreams," said Antetokounmpo, a Greek national born to Nigerian parents, drafted 15th overall as a relative unknown in 2013. "No matter whatever you feel, when you feel down, when things look like it might not happen for you, you might not make it — your career might be basketball, it might be anything — just believe in what you're doing. Keep working. Don't let nobody tell you what you can't be and what you cannot do."

The company 26-year-old Antetokounmpo keeps is already few. The two-time regular-season MVP and 2020 Defensive Player of the Year added the award named in Bill Russell's honor to his growing list of accolades. Until Tuesday, only Michael Jordan had those same four trophies in his case. Antetokounmpo joined Jordan, LeBron James, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Rick Barry and Bob Pettit as the only players to score 50 points in a Finals game. Pettit in 1958 was the only other player to do it in a close-out game.

Antetokounmpo survived a condensed regular season and a hyperextended left knee in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals to achieve a goal that eluded him in two previous disappointing playoff exits. Those losses elicited the criticism that follows growing legends until they win a ring. Antetokounmpo now joins all-timers like Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and Tim Duncan as Finals MVPs by the age of 26.

"I hope I give people around the world, from Africa, from Europe, give them hope that it can be done. It can be done," Antetokounmpo added in his postgame interview, clutching the championship and Finals MVP trophies. "Eight and a half years ago, when I came into the league, I didn't know where my next meal would come from. My mom was selling stuff in the street. And now I'm here, sitting on the top of the top. That's why I'm extremely blessed. Even if I never have a chance to sit at this table ever again, I'm fine with it."

The culmination of an extraordinary journey that has had a profound effect on the game's international popularity, Tuesday's win was a boon for small-market basketball everywhere. In lieu of entering free agency this summer, Antetokounmpo signed a $228 million supermax extension in Milwaukee prior to the season, pledging to deliver a title to the team that drafted him. He bucked the player movement trend toward superstar pairings and delivered, forging his own path to set a standard for his peers to admire.

The Bucks got just 29 points on 10-of-32 shooting combined from Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, but wide-eyed reserve Bobby Portis contributed 16 points, each of Brook Lopez's 10 points resonated, and Milwaukee's collective defensive effort was beyond reproach, as it had been throughout these playoffs.

Chris Paul led the Suns with 26 points in defeat. Devin Booker scored 19 points on 22 shots.

"For me, it just means back to work," said Paul, who at 36 years old made his first Finals appearance in Year 16 of a future Hall of Fame career. "Back to work. Nothing more, nothing less. Ain't no moral victories or whatnot. We sort of saw what it takes to get there, and hopefully we see what it takes to get past that."

The first 3:19 of the fourth quarter was played within one possession, until an Antetetokounmpo tip-in put the Bucks up 86-82. Paul answered with a quintessential mid-range jumper, but Antetokounmpo's four straight free throws and a Portis layup gave the Bucks a 92-86 lead that put pressure on Phoenix to fold.

The Suns made one final push to close within 100-96 on a Booker layup and two Jae Crowder free throws with 1:14 remaining, but Middleton drilled a 17-foot dagger fading to his right over Booker. All that remained was the embrace of Antetokounmpo and Middleton to celebrate eight seasons working to this moment.

"We formed a bond, a brotherhood since that first year we've been together," Middleton, a 2012 second-round draft pick, said of his longtime teammate. "We struggled. We struggled together. But we both saw in each other there was no give-up. It was all motivation to be better and not be embarrassed. Year after year, we challenged each other to be better. Challenged each other to be better leaders, better teammates."

Both teams battled nerves early, combining for three field goals on 15 attempts and six turnovers in the first five minutes. Middleton was first to find his rhythm, scoring seven straight points for a 15-7 cushion. Portis and Antetekounmpo each took turns scoring six straight, pushing the advantage to 29-16 by quarter's end.

In a sure sign of trouble, Cam Payne's five points off the bench led the Suns in the first quarter, but he scored another five to ignite a 10-0 run to start the second. It was not unlike the counterpunch the Bucks threw in the second quarter of Game 5 in Phoenix. By the midway point, Paul's layup tied Game 6 at 33, and a pair of DeAndre Ayton free throws gave the Suns their first lead inside of five minutes before halftime.

Led by Paul's 10 points on 5-for-7 shooting, the Suns shot 61% in the second quarter (11-18 FG) to the Bucks' 20% (4-20 FG), and Phoenix outscored Milwaukee 31-13 in the frame to take a 47-42 halftime lead.

Sniffing a ring, Antetokounmpo owned the third quarter, scoring 14 of Milwaukee's first 18 points after the break and dropping 20 total in the stanza. His burst returned the lead to the Bucks, and six straight points from Brook Lopez — including a thunderous dunk that ignited the crowd — extended their edge to 66-61.

A four-point play from Jae Crowder and inspired effort from backup center Frank Kaminsky helped the Suns withstand the onslaught. With Ayton in foul trouble and Paul resting, Booker helmed a 14-9 run to close the third, scoring or assisting on the final 10 points to even the score entering the fourth, 77-77.

But Antetokounmpo would not be denied, adding 13 points in the fourth quarter to get his 50 points for the 50 years since the Bucks last were champions. His latest pledge is not to wait so long for the next one.

"As Coach Bud said, we've got to do it again," Antetokounmpo told the Fiserv Forum crowd afterwards.

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Antetokounmpo was named the NBA Finals MVP after erupting for 50 points to lead the Bucks to their first championship since 1971.

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Brook Lopez Dunks All Over DeAndre Ayton, Bucks Crowd Goes Wild 🔥

House of Highlights 21 July, 2021 - 08:00am

Perspective | In an era of superteams, the Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo did it the hard way

The Washington Post 21 July, 2021 - 05:30am

Only 26 years old, he is now an NBA champion, having led the Milwaukee Bucks to their first title in a half century. And he clinched it for them in the most spectacular manner possible, with a 50-point, 14-rebound, five-block Game 6 masterpiece Tuesday night that could go down as the defining performance of a career far from finished.

His accomplishments are multiplying. In the past three years, Antetokounmpo has added two regular season MVPs, a Finals MVP and a defensive player of the year award. He is a legend just starting his prime.

In this championship light, Antetokounmpo still looks like a superstar from the future. He is a basketball anomaly, an athletic wonder full of power as well as grace, a post player who attacks from the perimeter, a center and a point guard and everything in between.

Yet he’s a throwback in mentality. He honors the NBA’s past with his incessant competitiveness. No getting chummy with opponents. No pining to join other famed peers in a more glamorous city. No premature obsession with legacy. Antetokounmpo lives for the moment and for the journey, even when it’s painful and embarrassing.

Look at him, standing atop the sport, bridging all eras with his evolutionary talent and classic approach. This is his time, and though he struggled to get here, his arrival is right on time. Let’s avoid the trite and unnecessary “best player in the game” designation, that mythical title assigned breathlessly every year to the leading man of each new championship team. It doesn’t matter, not to Antetokounmpo.

He cares more about what the entire team just proved. Milwaukee did not become another abandoned market. The Bucks stayed committed to improvement, and their franchise player remained patient. He also took ownership of his shortcomings and continued to refine his game. Now the Bucks are something you used to see often in the NBA. They’re the aspiring team that endured agony on the way up, kept learning, kept pushing, and finally turned all of their difficult experiences into a most rewarding triumph.

The superteam era diminished the appreciation of this gradual, laborious climb and the beneficial scar tissue it creates. There is nothing wrong with a star who wants change, but it creates a special lane for ones who chose to persist. They seem different, fascinating, sometimes weird. For the sake of variety, it was important that one from the increasingly rare breed set a new standard. Antetokounmpo stands as a 6-foot-11 monument to persistence.

“This can make everybody believe in their dreams,” Antetokounmpo said. “It might be basketball. It might be anything.”

It is not simply okay to stay and fight. It is gratifying. And even if this is the only championship that Giannis and the Bucks win together, it will still feel grand years from now as a singular feat. Some championships weigh more. This one, the franchise’s first since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar dominated and Oscar Robertson dished, is plenty heavy.

I love dynasties and dramatic displays of greatness. Much of the NBA’s history belongs to Hall of Famers who deciphered the championship code and made excellence replicable. But room exists for grinders to make an impression.

The Bucks created their own version of the hard way. They were promised nothing. Eight years ago, they didn’t draft Giannis and immediately forecast stardom. He was the No. 15 overall pick, a project who came to Milwaukee a couple of inches shorter and about 40 pounds lighter than he is now. They acquired Khris Middleton in a bigger trade not knowing that the former second-round pick was destined to be a great complementary star.

They built, developed and adjusted. They did it over and over until it all clicked. And even when they seemed championship ready, they experienced two more years of postseason setbacks before making a big trade for Jrue Holiday and figuring out how to take the final step.

“I just think their experience in these moments was pretty evident,” Phoenix Coach Monty Williams said of the Bucks. “I just thought because they have been in these moments before, it made up the margins for them, especially in those moments where you need a stop, you need a bucket, there was no panic, there was no lack of poise. … So, that’s what I saw tonight, not just a guy that was putting up numbers and is a great player but I saw a team that had a lot of experience in playoff situations.”

You witnessed a long-disregarded franchise grow. You saw a franchise player, a son of Nigerian parents who was born and raised in Greece, built from scratch. The Antetokounmpos are a remarkable rags-to-riches family story that stretches across three continents. Giannis arrived in Milwaukee with no prior knowledge of the city and with a body desperate for proper nutrition, and by his fourth season, he was an all-star.

“He’s an even more amazing human being than he is a player,” Milwaukee Coach Mike Budenholzer said.

Looking back, there was no way the Phoenix Suns were going to rob him of this opportunity. He wanted it too badly. In the 105-98 victory in Game 6, Antetokounmpo made 16 of 25 shots, and the notoriously erratic and slow free throw shooter made 17 of 19 from the foul line. It was a near flawless effort to complete a historic Finals debut. Two weeks ago, Antetokounmpo entered Game 1 coming off a scary knee injury, and the basketball world wondered how effective he would be. After 40-point games and a 50-piece, after The Block and The Lob, there are no more questions about the knee.

He is the Greek Freak, for certain. Whatever we thought of Giannis previously, no matter how high the praise or strong the criticism, we should all be able to agree on this: During the Finals, he showed he is greater than how we had imagined him to be. Wherever you had placed him on your greatness scale, he needs to occupy a higher place. He’s flat-out better than almost every way he’s portrayed. He’s far more than a Freak with no jumper who had trouble adjusting to intense defensive attention during past playoff runs. But he also exceeds some of the running acclaim that his biggest admirers provide. Because no superstar in NBA history operates quite like him — his ability to own the paint but do so off the dribble, his status as a big man who is his own facilitator, his Kevin Garnett-like influence on the defensive end — it’s going to take a long time to capture him perfectly.

Then again, it will be fun trying to create the proper context. Antetokounmpo is going nowhere. The Bucks aren’t budging, either. The new champions should remain contenders for a good while.

Upon reflection, Antetokounmpo mentioned that he could have gone the superteam route, but that’s not him.

This, he said, was the hard way. He pounded the table for emphasis.

At the end, he made it look easy, but he embraces the difficulty. The hard parts make all this breakthrough all the more meaningful.

• Game 1: Suns 118, Bucks 105 | Game 2: Suns 118, Bucks 108 | Game 3: Bucks 120, Suns 100 | Game 4: Bucks 109, Suns 103 | Game 4: Bucks 109, Suns 103 | Game 5: Bucks 123, Suns 119 | Game 6: Bucks 105, Suns 98

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Nets open as '21-22 favorites; Lakers, Bucks next

ESPN 20 July, 2021 - 10:45pm

Fresh off seeing an NBA champion crowned Tuesday night, oddsmakers have posted the Brooklyn Nets (+225) and Los Angeles Lakers (+400) as the betting favorites for the 2021-22 season.

The champion Milwaukee Bucks, who wrapped up the franchise's first title since 1971 with a six-game Finals victory over the Phoenix Suns, have the next shortest odds at +900.

"This season, the Nets and Lakers drew so much more money than any other team," Nick Bogdanovich, William Hill U.S. director of trading, told ESPN, reinforcing how liability on popular teams will always drive odds.

Bogdanovich also indicated that talent is a factor.

"In a normal year, if those guys stay somewhat healthy, they definitely figure to be the best team," Bogdanovich said of the Nets.

Perennial All-Stars Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving played only eight regular-season games together for Brooklyn. The Nets' playoff run was disrupted in the Eastern Conference semifinals when Irving suffered an ankle injury and Harden battled a hamstring injury. They ultimately lost to the Bucks in overtime of Game 7.

In recent years, free agency has played an enormous role in the futures market. Sharp bettors have occasionally caught oddsmakers off guard, anticipating significant signings and pouncing on long odds, but this summer figures to be relatively quiet. Kawhi Leonard and Chris Paul both can become free agents, as they hold player options on their current contracts. However, Leonard will be coming off surgery for a torn ACL, and Paul is 36.

"We are anticipating that there will be more impact in the trade market than the free agent market," Las Vegas SuperBook assistant manager and head NBA oddsmaker Jeff Sherman told ESPN. "Who knows if [Damian] Lillard is going to get dealt. If he ends up getting traded, then that would be bigger than any free agent out there."

Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons could also be traded, given how his postseason shooting struggles contributed to the conference's top seed losing in seven games to the Atlanta Hawks in the East semifinals. The Sixers (18-1) would undoubtedly receive talent in return.

Phoenix reached the NBA Finals for the first time since 1993 and nearly cashed as title longshots in the neighborhood of 50-1. However, the Suns won't sneak up on oddsmakers this time with 15-1 odds, which are the fifth-shortest.

"I don't know what Chris Paul has left in the tank," Bogdanovich said. "[Devin] Booker and [Deandre] Ayton are great to build around. This year was no fluke."

The Golden State Warriors (10-1) did not even reach the playoffs, but they hold the fourth-shortest odds. Sharpshooter Klay Thompson is expected to return from an Achilles injury, and the Warriors could package their two lottery picks for a top-tier established player that would help them compete in the short term. Two-time MVP Stephen Curry is 33, and three-time All-Star Draymond Green is 31.

The preseason betting favorite has won the NBA title in four of the past six seasons. Over the past 35 seasons, only four teams have won the championship with odds of 15-1 or longer.

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