50 years later, the Milwaukee Bucks are NBA champions again.
Led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks held on for a thrilling 105-98 home victory over the Phoenix Suns, taking the series 4-2.
With the Larry O’Brien Trophy in one arm and the NBA Finals MVP trophy in the other, Antetokounmpo couldnt’ stop smiling after his monster performance. The five-time NBA All-Star had a game to remember as he scored 50 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked five shots in the win.
It was the third game this series with at least 40 points and 10 rebounds for Antetokounmpo, a dominant debut finals performance that takes its place among some of the game’s greatest. Antetokounmpo finished with 35.2 points, 13.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game while shooting 61.8%, the first player in finals history to reach those numbers.
“It’s time to celebrate,” Antetokounmpo said.
The five-time All Star shot 16-for-25 from the field and made an unbelievable 17-of-19 free throws, considering he was shooting just 55.6% throughout the playoffs and was ridiculed for it at times.
“People told me I can’t make free throws and I made them tonight,” said Antetokounmpo.
Khris Middleton chipped in with 17 points, five rebounds and five assists and Jrue
Holiday added 12 pints and 11 assists in the win.
“For the city, I’m sure it means everything,” said Middleton. “They’ve seen the work that we put in over the years for them to get to this point.”
In a season played played largely without fans, the Bucks had 65,000 of them packed into the Deer District outside, and a full house inside as fans laughed and cried as the confetti came raining down.
The Bucks became the fifth team to win the NBA Finals after trailing 2-0 and the first to do it by winning the next four games since Miami against Dallas in 2006.
Chris Paul scored 26 points to end his first NBA Finals appearance in his 16th season. Devin Booker added 19 points but shot just 8 for 22 and missed all seven 3-pointers after scoring 40 points in each of the last two games.
“There’s just a pain that goes with your season being over,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “But I’ve never dealt with this and so I’m grateful, like I said, but I know this is going to hurt for a while.”
The Suns returned to the postseason for the first time since 2010 but remain without a title and have never won more than two games in their three appearances in the NBA Finals.
“Nobody probably expected us to be where we are except for us,” Paul said. “But it is what it is. Like I said all season long with our team, ain’t no moral victories.”