We’ve taken a back seat to allow the dust time to settle after the Milwaukee Bucks bagged their first NBA Championship in half a century. However, it’s now time to take a look at how the 2021 NBA Finals unfolded and what it meant for each team going forward.
How the 2021 NBA Finals unfolded
The 2021 NBA Finals were the Bucks post-season in a nutshell
As NBA Finals go, 2021 was a pretty enthralling watch. especially compared to some of the years gone by. The Phoenix Suns burst into a 2-0 series lead with two wins on their home court, which put huge pressure on the Bucks.
It was nothing new for them, though. Sure, they battered Miami Heat in the first round but the Nets went two up in the conference semi-finals and the Hawks took game one of the finals. The team – and specifically Giannis Antetokounmpo – came alive under the pressure.
As the temperature in the oven cranked up, Antetokounmpo started to come to the boil and Chris Paul began to wilt. Before you knew it, the Bucks had levelled the series but then came the pivotal match.
Match five saw the Bucks travel to Phoenix once again and it was proving a very tight affair. Antetokounmpo delivered again, however, not only leading his team with 32 points and 13 rebounds but also nailing a huge block on Deandre Ayton. It was a momentum killer and the Bucks saw the game out to win on the road.
The writing was on the wall for the Suns as the fat lady warmed her vocal chords. As it transpired, game seven of the 2021 NBA Finals wasn’t needed. Milwaukee opened up a big gap in the first quarter only to see the Suns come out fighting in Q2. Three and four both went the way of the home side though with Antetokounmpo, as always, the star sinking 50 points. The Bucks went wild.
The Bucks Angle
What can you say about the Bucks? It’s been a long wait to see the Championship head to Milwaukee so, obviously, there were “scenes” everywhere. Antetokounmpo, who was named Finals MVP, was the recipient of most praise. Although you can’t really begrudge it, the Bucks certainly aren’t a one man show.
It wasn’t too long ago that people were calling for Mike Budenholzer’s head but now he’s a NBA Championship winning coach. It’s not just a title win though, Budenholzer has taken a team of inexperience to stardom. Not a single player on the Bucks roster had lifted the Championship before this year. Jrue Holiday, who was instrumental to the win, finally has his place on the right side of history after years of suffering with the Pelicans.
Then you have Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. Middleton came out of the G-League and had to scrap for minutes whilst Antetokounmpo has nailed his position as a generational talent and future potential GOAT.
Finally, the other man who deserves a mention is PJ Tucker. For years he’s been tasked with shutting down the best players around the league without getting recognition. He’s getting it now though and never again will people associate him to the Houston Rockets team that choked the lead to the Golden State Warriors.
The Sorry Suns
If you’re a Suns fan then, quite frankly, things suck right now. Even for a lot of neutrals the idea of seeing Chris Paul finally grab his first Championshipn in the 2021 NBA Finals was something that tugged on the heartstrings given how many years of agony he’s been through. As it transpired Paul, who has been sensational throughout the season, couldn’t maintain his early Finals form to the bitter end.
The silver lining for those in Phoenix is that they’ll come back stronger than before. They certainly will have more knowhow about them. The Suns squad that took the court in the Finals was chock full of players that hadn’t even made the postseason; included in that group are the likes of Devin Booker, Ayton, Cam Johnson, Cam Payne and Mikal Bridges. Assuming the nucleus of the roster stay together they’ll come back swinging in the years ahead.
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