Game Six: Giannis Gets His Ring
The Milwaukee Bucks capture their first championship in 50 years, and two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo gets his first ring.
Milwaukee, it's time to party like it's 1971!
The Milwaukee Bucks won Game Six of the NBA Finals by a score of 105-98, clinching their second NBA Championship and first in 50 years. Their overall series win came after the team lost the first two games to the Phoenix Suns, and needed to win back-to-back at home just to draw even. After succeeding, the Bucks stole Game Five in Phoenix to earn the right to clinch their championship on their home court.
The game itself saw the Bucks take full control in the first quarter, but the second quarter saw the Suns dominate; outscoring Milwaukee 31-13 to take the lead at the half. The game was tied at 77 entering the final frame, where it was all Bucks. The Suns could not do a thing to solve Milwaukee in the final 12 minutes, and it resulted in the Bucks celebrating a championship. Giannis Antetokounmpo was named the Finals MVP, scoring fifty points to lead the Bucks to clinch their championship. Overall, Giannis averaged 35.2 points, 13.2 rebounds, and 5.0 assists in the six-game Finals; he had 14 rebounds in Game Six alone. Khris Middleton had 17 points of his own, Bobby Portis had 16 points off the bench, and Jrue Holiday had 12 points and 11 assists.
For the Suns, Chris Paul led the team in scoring with 26 points, but only had five assists. Devin Booker only had 19 points, though Jae Crowder had 15 points and 13 boards. For Paul, this was truly his most successful season by far. His first trip to the NBA Finals in his long and storied career, but sadly, he fell just two wins short of his first championship. One has to wonder if Paul's first chance is also his last, because the Western Conference could see both Los Angeles-based teams make moves that could turn them into dangerous obstacles for the Suns. Time will tell if that happens, but for now, the Suns' long run to the Finals should be celebrated, as that team basically came from nothing and nearly became champions.
For the Bucks, this win cemented them as a force to be dealt win in the entire NBA, and it also saved Giannis from being labeled as a "failure." One thing I've known for years: superstar players in the NBA get judged solely by rings, especially the lack thereof. LeBron James got treated very harshly for the first seven seasons of his career due to not having any championships, and Giannis was in danger of getting that same scrutiny. Two-time NBA MVP, but couldn't get over the hump. Now he's over that hump. The itch is gone. He has his ring and a Finals MVP to go with the NBA MVPs he's won. But here's the thing: it's the NBA. Even winning once is considered failing. You have to win at least two or three more times to, as last year's superstar champion said, "get some damn respect."
The season's barely over and already, the odds for next season are out. The Bucks are favored to repeat, but the two teams with better odds are the Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Lakers. The Golden State Warriors and the aforementioned Suns round out the top five, but even so, I think this is a different NBA now. Things are opening up. It's not as wide open as the NHL, but I don't think we'll see the same teams every year. I think we'll see some really fun Finals because of it; this year was just the beginning.
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