Giannis “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo erupted for 50 points in Game 6 of the 2021 NBA Finals to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a 105-98 victory over the Phoenix Suns. The Bucks knocked out the Suns in six games and won the franchise’s first NBA championship in 50 years.
Antetokounmpo added 14 rebounds and five blocks, but he knocked down 17-for-19 from the free-throw line, which helped the Bucks seal the victory.
Antetokounmpo won the NBA Finals MVP for his sensational performance throughout the series. He averaged 35.2 points and 13.2 rebounds against the Suns with a pair of 40-point games, and closed out the Suns with a 50-point game.
The Suns won the first two games of the NBA Finals and jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Despite the early deficit, the Bucks won four games in a row to win the title. The Bucks became only the fifth team in NBA history to battle back from a 2-0 deficit in the NBA Finals and win a championship. They joined the 2016 Cleveland Cavs, 2006 Miami Heat, 1977 Portland Trail Blazers, and 1969 Boston Celtics as the only other teams to pull off a 2-0 comeback in the NBA Finals.
The last time the Bucks won the NBA title was in 1971 when they played in the Western Conference and the NBA only had 17 teams.
— NBA (@NBA) July 21, 2021
Deer Path to the championship
The Bucks began the season at +650 odds to win the NBA championship. At the All-Star Break, their odds were roughly the same at +700. At the start of the NBA playoffs, the Bucks were +800 odds. When the NBA Finals began, the Bucks were +325 underdogs against the Suns.
|Milwaukee Bucks Championship Odds History
In the previous two seasons, the Bucks posted the best record in the NBA, but failed to advance to the NBA Finals in both instances. This season, the Bucks secured the #3 seed in the Eastern Conference behind the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers and the Brooklyn Nets. In the first round, the Bucks enacted revenge on the Miami Heat, who knocked them out of last season’s playoffs inside the NBA Bubble. The Bucks swept the Heat in four quick games.
In the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Bucks took advantage of a banged-up Brooklyn Nets squad and won that series in seven games. Kyrie Irving and James Harden were both injured during the series, but even Kevin Durant couldn’t hold off Antetokounmpo and the Bucks.
The Bucks defeated the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Finals. Antetokounmpo suffered a hyper-extended knee and missed the final two games of the series. The short-handed Hawks also lost Trae Young to a freak foot injury for a couple of games, but the Freak-less Bucks knocked out the Hawks.
In the NBA Finals, Antetokounmpo returned to action in Game 1. The Bucks fell into a 2-0 hole and then won the next four games in a row to defeat the Suns and win the championship.
Check out OG’s coverage of the 2021 NBA Playoffs.