The NBA Finals are underway, and we’re now halfway through a series that hasn’t seen a team with a 3-1 lead win the championship in over 50 years. And while the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers have already met up twice in the playoffs, the stakes are still high, as the series heads to Oakland for Game 3 on Sunday. But that’s not the only thing worth watching this weekend.
So, this is the year you’ve been waiting for, right? After a summer of NFL free agency, NBA free agency, MLB free agency, NHL free agency, PGA and USGA championships, and WAGs from here to India, the NBA is back! (You know, as in basketball. Not ‘Back in black.’) This is the year LeBron James and the Cavs get to play for an NBA Championship for the first time since returning to Cleveland. And that other guy, the one who’s been on a historic level, finally gets to play for his first ever ring. And the Warriors get to play for their third NBA championship in four years. And the Rockets get to play for the first time since they beat the Lakers
The Golden State Warriors’ historic win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals brought a sense of closure to the world. The Warriors have won the NBA title once before – in 1975 over the Philadelphia 76ers – but this was the first time in 73 years that a team had won back-to-back championships, and the Warriors were the first team in NBA history to ever win three titles in four years.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks’ superstar and two-time league MVP, has his club on the verge of an NBA title and is creating NBA Finals history in the process.
Antetokounmpo has numerous heroics for the Bucks, who have come back from a 2-0 hole against the Phoenix Suns and are currently one victory away from their first championship since 1971. Throughout the first five games of the NBA Finals, he also finds himself in a very select NBA Finals club.
The frontrunner to win Finals MVP is Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Odds to win NBA Finals MVP in 2021 have been updated.
-400 Giannis Antetokounmpo +550 Devin Booker +600 Chris Paul
— July 19, 2021, BetOnline.ag (@betonline ag)
If the Bucks win the series, Antetokounmpo will almost likely be named Finals MVP.
Through five games, the “Greek Freak” has put up unbelievable numbers of 32.2 points, 13.0 rebounds, and 5.6 assists. He’s also been effective on the defensive end, averaging 1.4 steals and 1.2 blocks per game.
Antetokounmpo has a +22 net rating, and his average Game Score of 29.9 is far and by the best on either squad. The statistics, on the other hand, only convey half of the story.
It’s not simply that Antetokounmpo is the best player on the team. He’s also the one who makes the most important plays at the most crucial times. The 26-year-stunning old’s block on Deandre Ayton in Game 4 may have been the game-winner for the Bucks, and it may go down as one of the greatest defensive performances in Finals history. His and-1 dunk over Chris Paul not only won Game 5, but it also left a lasting impression.
Not to mention the fact that Antetokounmpo is accomplishing all of this only weeks after suffering a hyperextended knee, making his performance even more impressive.
Antetokounmpo went down in history with LeBron James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is just the third player in NBA Finals history to score at least 150 points, 50 rebounds, and 25 assists in the first five games:
LeBron James (2015, 2017, 2020) Antetokounmpo (1974) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1974) (2021) pic.twitter.com/TG6MBneSU0
18 July 2021 — Justin Kubatko (@jkubatko)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James are two of the greatest players in NBA history. Any player whose name is spoken in the same breath as those two legends is treading on holy ground.
Antetokounmpo is standing on that spot.
The Bucks great joined James and Abdul-Jabbar as the only players in NBA Finals history to score at least 150 points, 50 rebounds, and 25 assists in the first five games. Abdul-Jabbar achieved the feat as a member of the Bucks in 1974, whereas James has completed the feat in three separate Finals.
Those figures demonstrate Antetokounmpo’s ability to influence the game in a variety of ways. When he’s transitioning, he’s almost unstoppable, and when he’s going downhill, he’s as tough to control. On drive-and-kick action, Antetokounmpo can also create plays for his teammates while chasing down offensive rebounds.
Antetokounmpo joins an exclusive group of athletes who succeed in all areas. However, if Antetokounmpo and the Bucks are unable to defeat the Suns, this accomplishment may be meaningless.
Is it possible for the Bucks to win the NBA Finals?
Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo is attempting to lead the team to its first championship in 40 years | Getty Images/Christian Petersen
Milwaukee’s Game 5 victory was significant for a variety of reasons.
The Bucks not only took the series lead, but they also won their first game on the road. Milwaukee now has home-court advantage in the series and can win it at Fiserv Forum, where they have only lost one game in the 2021 playoffs.
After all of the uncertainty about his future over the summer, Giannis Antetokounmpo is on the verge of winning his first NBA title. The Bucks will most likely hope that his outstanding performance continues if they are to win the championship on their own court.
Basketball Reference provided the statistics.
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