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NBA Finals: Milwaukee Bucks are NBA champions for the first time since 1971

Led by MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who also had 14 rebounds and five blocked shots, the Bucks moved away from the Suns to win 105-98 in a noisy Fiserv forum.

Khris Middleton had 17 points and Bobby Portis had 16. Chris Paul of Phoenix led the Suns with 26 points.

Antetokounmpo – who was born in Athens, Greece – was 16 for 25 on the pitch and scored all but two of his 19 free throws. He also had five blocks in a performance hailed by commentators and fellow players as one for the ages.

Antetokounmpo was the first player to have at least 40 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks in a playoff game since the blocks were first recorded in 1974, the NBA tweeted. He became the seventh player to have at least 50 points in the championship round.

“I want to thank Milwaukee for believing in me, thanking my teammates,” said Antetokounmpo after accepting the MVP award for the final. “They played hard in every creepy game. I trusted this team. I wanted to do it here in this city, I wanted to do it with these guys, so I’m happy. I’m glad we could. do it .”

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer praised the Suns, saying they had great players, great coach and great organization. Then he greeted his team.

“These players are champions every day,” he told NBA Finals broadcaster ABC. “Every day they come into the building, they’re champions. They’ve agreed to get better every day, they’ve embraced competition, they’ve embraced playing together. And that made them champions tonight. . I couldn’t be prouder of them. “

Paul, 11-time All-Star who made his first appearance in an NBA Finals, said he hadn’t seen a stat sheet but felt his team had made too many turnovers . “They fired at the right time, not us,” he said. “We didn’t have any stoppages when we needed them and they just beat us up.”

Paul, 36, said he was not thinking of retiring.

NBA Finals: Milwaukee Bucks are NBA champions for the first time since 1971

It was a heartbreaking loss for Suns coach Monty Williams.

“I think it’s gonna take me a minute. I’m not taking it for granted. It’s hard to get here and I wanted it so badly, you know. It’s hard to deal with right now. It’s hard. . That’s all. “

The Bucks led by 13 points after the first quarter, 29-16. Antetokounmpo had 10 points and six rebounds during the period. The Suns shot 7 for 24 (29%) in the quarter. It was Phoenix’s lowest points total for the first quarter of the 2021 playoffs.

But Paul led a rally for the Suns, scoring 10 points as Phoenix quickly closed the deficit and took a 47-42 lead at halftime.

NBA Finals: Milwaukee Bucks are NBA champions for the first time since 1971

The score was tied at 77 after three quarters as Antetokounmpo scored 20 points during the period. He was 13 more in the fourth quarter as the Bucks moved away, including a stretch where he scored six straight points for his team.

In 1971, the Bucks won the title in their third season behind the exceptional play of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then Lew Alcindor) and Oscar Robertson. They have beaten the Baltimore Bullets in the last four games zero, winning the last game on the road.

It was the Bucks ‘first appearance in the Finals since 1974 and it was the Suns’ third appearance in the Finals, most recent in 1993. The franchise has never won an NBA championship.

Three players from the NBA Finals will travel to Tokyo to form the United States team at the Olympics: Middleton, Bucks goaltender Jrue Holiday and Suns goaltender Devin Booker. After the game, Booker said he would board a plane in a few hours.

He said the post-game dressing room was “quiet. Just a lot of emotion. It’s a long season, we’ve been through a lot.”

CNN’s Jill Martin contributed to this report.


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