It takes a virtuoso performance like that of Giannis Antetokounmpo to win an NBA championship. That is true.
His 50 points, 50 years after the Milwaukee Bucks last won the NBA Championship, were the result of a tone he set. He’s also grabbed 14 rebounds, blocked five shots and, as a 68% free throw shooter this season, has scored 17 of 19 free throws.
But for every great performance in the Finals – whether it’s Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Tim Duncan, or LeBron James – you need role players to step up. These include Steve Kerr, Robert Horry, Ray Allen, and many more. As great actors before them, Bobby Portis, Pat Connaughton, PJ Tucker and Brook Lopez followed Antetokounmpo’s lead.
The best players, the Big Three – whatever you want to call them – always have to play their averages to win. If one is slightly below, another should step up.
Khris Middleton didn’t quite hit his scoring average in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, but he did put in some huge shots when the Milwaukee Bucks needed a clutch basket. Jrue Holiday struggled to find the back of the net at times, but he almost managed a triple double, finding 11 teammates to score, grabbing nine rebounds and stealing the ball four times.
Antetokounmpo made up for his slight drops in score himself, but each set the tone in their own way.
Home field advantage
Teams play 82 games (72 games in this year’s shortened regular season) to compete for the playoff seeds. The best record makes it easier for you to roll in the playoffs, as a seed faces weaker teams and has the advantage on the field, playing four of their seven games in front of their own home crowd.
The regular season is a long time, but it gives them a chance to develop players outside the front group. They need to know who to trust when the pressure builds in every round of the playoffs.
In recent years, the Milwaukee Bucks have been seeded every season, but have relied too much on a grassroots system that has bolstered Giannis Antetokounmpo’s strengths and failed to speak up for others around him. . The Greek Freak may have won two regular season MVP awards this way, but if he struggled when his opponent figured out how to slow him down in the simplified offense during the playoffs, his teammates have it. also done.
This year, they upgraded their playmaker position and changed the system. Jrue Holiday helped consolidate their big three, so if Khris Middleton had a bad game someone else could take over and support Antetokounmpo.
This is all fine for the regular season and even the early rounds of the playoffs, but when you reach the conference finals and NBA finals, someone else has to do their part.
Home pitch is an advantage, especially as role players tend to struggle on the road and excel when a friendly crowd backs them up when they make mistakes.
Over the past few seasons, the Bucks have had the best regular season record, but knowing they were going to have to integrate more advanced systems, put a greater workload on their top players, and work in new talent, Milwaukee has continually said he wasn’t aiming to be the best team in the regular season – they were working towards something bigger.
Still, stealing a game from Phoenix in Game 5 gave the Bucks a chance to close the final at home.
In Game 6, you could hear the Milwaukee worshipers through the TV speakers on this side of the Atlantic, and when Bobby Portis stepped into the game he felt like most of the Wisconsin reportedly heard the chants “BOBBY, BOBBY”.
For someone who scored eight points per game throughout the playoffs and didn’t even look like he played many games due to tough shifts, Portis found a role in the final games of the series. against the Phoenix Suns and increased his average finishing with 16 points. With six points in the first quarter and six points in the last quarter, he helped at clutch moments, scoring three, coming inside when defenders closed and even hitting the rack when defense broke down.
On the other side, he committed five fouls which might not always be a good thing, but it made players miss and his physique was exactly what you would expect from a winning side in a series of NBA Finals.
Pat Connaughton struggled in this game, but he’s had moments as the Bucks’ fourth-best player throughout this series. He played two games in which he scored 14 points and four games in which he caught six or more rebounds, including eight as a dropout. Considering he was playing behind Donte Divencenzo before the shooter fell injured for the remainder of the series, Connaughton seized the opportunity and thrived at times in this series.
At the start of the final, it looked like Brook Lopez might not be able to play at all, but he finished with 10 points in Game 6, as well as eight rebounds. While PJ Tucker left the score to everyone, his defense against Chris Paul and Devin Booker was vital, especially when he stole the ball from the latter four minutes to go.
To do work
Robert Horry, Steve Kerr and Ray Allen put in some huge shots to win playoff games in their respective races to the championships. Their contributions were obvious, but whether it was hitting a winner, getting the ball in the right position every time like John Paxson, grabbing key rebounds like Rasho Nesterovic, or playing perfect defense like Shane Battier, role players are essential to getting a championship team on the line.
Cam Payne did all he could to keep the Phoenix Suns in this early contest, but the start was slow for the rest of the squad, and the squad’s best players – Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton – struggled to set the tone early. like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton did for the Milwaukee Bucks.
While Shaquille O’Neal handed the Superman cape to the Greek Freak, the former LA Laker will always say he needed the “others.” Game 6 of the 2020-21 NBA Finals will rightfully be Antetokounmpo’s crowning glory as the league’s new king, but he wouldn’t have made it if the cast hadn’t stepped up.