They’ve been waiting for that for half a century. Since 1971, and the title won by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson, Milwaukee had not lifted the NBA trophy and had experienced fifty years of hardship of all kinds. Five years ago, the Bucks weren’t even sure they would stay in Wisconsin …
But on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday, the Bucks, carried by an exceptional Giannis Antetokounmpo, reversed a final badly started against the Phoenix Suns. “I’ve never seen that in the streets,” chokes Gabe Stoltz of local site BrewHoops shortly before the start of Game 6, played at home by Milwaukee. In addition to the 17,000 spectators present in the hall, an additional area had been planned to accommodate up to … 65,000 spectators in the area. And for several blocks, the crowds – perhaps 100,000 people for a city of 600,000 – extended far beyond anticipated areas.
Carried by a video message from Giannis Antetokounmpo, broadcast just before the match – “We can win at home, we need you, make some noise!” »- the public will give a passionate color to this 6th match.
The first quarter however illustrated the nervousness of the two teams, which took more than three minutes to score more than one basket, and had 7 stray balls in 5 minutes. But the Bucks – and especially Antetokounmpo – caught fire: 29-16 for Milwaukee, 14 points for its leader.
The Suns reacted for the next ten minutes, posting a 31-13 reminder that they were the best NBA away team this season. Phoenix was carried in part by Cameron Payne, off the bench for 10 points in the period, while Chris Paul, his team’s best player in Game 6, tried to avoid being the first player in history to lose four rounds of play-offs led 2-0. The Suns came back ahead as the two teams collapsed on shooting: 37.9% for Milwaukee, 34.5% for Phoenix and 42-37 for the benefit of the Arizona franchise when they returned to the locker room.
If, at the Bucks, Khris Middleton, always precious in good times, wakes up (17 points at 6/13), just like Bobby Portis, the great darling of the public (16 points at 6/10), this game 6 has especially completed the triumph of their double MVP 2019-2020 and quintuple All-Star. As soon as he had the ball, the moulted inside winger attacked the basket, causing faults on Deandre Ayton, going on the rebound, scoring especially in the circle, including a dunk on three players, but a little also at mid-distance, at three points, and – above all – on throws, his weakness so far (only one missed in 30 minutes out of 13 attempts, 17/19 in the end).
Antetokounmpo account for 37 points out of the 77 of his team at the end of the third quarter time and above all reaches the mythical bar of 50 points in a final match (50 points, 14 rebounds, 2 assists, 5 blocks, 64% shooting) . Fifty points, the perfect number for 50 years, which are part of the pantheon of the greatest performances in history in the NBA Finals. The Greek becomes the 7th player in history to match or exceed this mark at this level of competition. “I would never have believed to be there at 26 years”, he was ecstatic after the coronation which he offered to his franchise. The Bucks win 105-98. Outside, the celebration of a city going wild continues. It will last all night. The end of a half-century famine is worth celebrating …