2021 NBA Finals

24 Thoughts on Game 6 of the 2021 NBA Finals

Instant observations and real-time tweets from Game 6 of The Finals as it happened in Milwaukee on Tuesday night.

Brian Martin, for NBA.com

Giannis Antetokounmpo (50 points, 14 rebounds and 5 blocks) had a Game 6 for the ages to lead the Bucks to their first NBA title in 50 years.

The Bucks broke through and won the first game on the road in this series to bring The Finals back to Milwaukee with a chance to clinch their first title in 50 seasons in front of their fans. Can the Bucks close it out, or will the Suns find a way to send the series back to Phoenix for a winner-take-all Game 7 on Thursday?



1 —
These pregame shots of the Deer District crowd are insane. Sorry Dr. Fauci!

 

2 — Is the Bucks in six prediction going to come true eight years after Brandon Jennings made it in 2013?

 

3 — Giannis gets things started on both ends of the court: block –> layup

The Giannis block party continues in Game 6.

 

4 — Teams combine to shoot just 2-10 in the first few minutes. Is it nerves, adrenaline, pressure?

Bucks take a timeout with 6:51 left in the quarter to regroup. At this point, the Bucks are shooting 2-7 with Middleton and Holiday combined for 0-5. The Suns are shooting even worse at 2-9 with Chris Paul and Devin Booker both 1-3.

 

5 — I don’t think Coach Bud drew up a double-pump lefty runner in the lane from Jrue Holiday in that timeout but it worked. That’s followed by a steal and layup from Khris Middleton as both players get their first points of the night.

And now Middleton is feeling it – he hits the pull-up 3 for his third bucket in just over 60 seconds to put the Bucks up 15-7.

Overall, the play has been pretty sloppy so far from both teams – poor shooting, a lot of turnovers — 11 turnovers total between the teams (five for the Suns, six for the Bucks) and there’s still four minutes left in the opening quarter.

 

6 — Jrue Holiday continues to deliver with his defense in this series. He’s constantly making Chris Paul work to initiate the Suns offense, he’s forcing turnovers, and challenging shots, like he just did forcing a Devin Booker miss on what looked to be a wide-open layup. That defensive effort leads to a Bobby Portis three on the other end for a five-point swing and a Suns timeout.

 

7 — Giannis has made his first four free throws. He’s got 10 points and five boards with 45 seconds remaining in the quarter, and puts the Bucks up 11.

Giannis misses, but Brook Lopez is there for the follow to push the Bucks lead up to 13 and this Fiserv Forum and Deer District are exploding.

Cam Johnson misses a corner three to close out the quarter and the Bucks take a 13-point advantage into the second quarter.

 

8 — We have a winner for fan merch of the day. Giannis didn’t need a bathroom break early in this game as he led all players with 10 points in 10 minutes.

 

9 — Is this shaping up to be the Cam Payne Game? He’s up to 10 points off the bench, scoring nearly half of the Suns’ 21 points thus far.

 

10 — The Suns are running Milwaukee’s Game 5 playbook — go down by double digits in the first quarter and come roaring back in a hurry in the second quarter.

Here’s the routine reminder that the team that has won the second quarter has won each game of this series.

 

11 — Middleton picks up his third foul with 4:51 remaining in half. The Suns are on a 9-0 run to take a 35-33 lead. The Bucks are being outscored 19-4 in the second quarter.

So far this quarter, the Suns are shooting 7-12, while the Bucks are just 1-14.

 

12 — Giannis is keeping the Bucks close in the second quarter, can he get some help?

Middleton earns a trip to the free throw line with three seconds to play in the first half and pulls the Bucks within five points at the break (47-42).

 

13 — That’s how many points the Bucks scored in the second quarter!

 

14 — A few shooting numbers at the break:

Chris Paul: 6-10 FG for 13 points; Cameron Payne: 4-5 FG, 10 points; the rest of the Suns: 8-33, 24 points

Jrue Holiday is shooting 1-11 from the field; Khris Middleton is 3-8 with all three buckets coming an a one-minute span in the first quarter. He has as many fouls as points.

Giannis with 17 points on 6-10 FG, Bobby Portis is the only other Buck in double figures with 10 points off the bench (3-5 FG, 2-4 3P).

Suns have the lead with Devin Booker only scoring four points in the first half after he posted back-to-back 40 pieces the last two games.

 

15 — Giannis opens the third quarter with a goal tend, an old-fashioned 3-point play, then hits a 3-pointer to bring the Bucks within one point. He is feeling it tonight!

Devin Booker with the tough fade-away jumper over Holiday – will that get him started after a slow first half?

 

16 — With 8:08 to play in the third, Giannis is at the line with a chance to give the Bucks the lead. He hits both – that’s 8-9 shooting at the line tonight – as the Bucks open the third quarter on a 16-8 run.

Giannis is in ultimate attack mode, charging at the rim every time he touches the ball. He misses a shot through contact on a drive, gets the board and the putback to put the Bucks up by 3 and force a Suns timeout.

Giannis has 29 points, so do all of his teammates combined! While we’re speaking of Giannis, how about this graphic from the broadcast!

Giannis receiving the praise from his peers for his Game 6 performance so far.

 

17 — Jrue Holiday hasn’t been able to buy a bucket tonight, but he’s dropping dimes – he’s up to seven assists on the night after this dunk by Brook Lopez.

Brook follows it up with the Euro step in the lane for the bucket. What is happening?!

 

18 — Suns close the third quarter on a 6-0 run in the final 90 seconds to tie the game 77 headed into the fourth quarter. Bucks won the quarter 35-30, but missed a chance to carry the lead into the fourth.

Giannis with 20 points in the third quarter; he leads all players with 35 points on 12-20 shooting from the field and incredibly 12-13 at the free throw line.

Paul (17) and Booker (15) lead the Suns – Booker with 11 in the third quarter, he needs to get hot for the Suns in the fourth.

 

19 — Bucks open the fourth with Giannis on the bench, can they score without him on the court?

Jrue Holiday knocks down a three, then Bobby Portis shows off his mid-range game with a pull up jumper and a runner. Meanwhile for the Suns, Frank Kaminsky has six points in Game 6 after having six points total in Games 1-5 combined.

 

20 — The Giannis Finals Blocks Highlight Reel just got another entry as he throws Booker’s runner away from the rim and back beyond the 3-point line.

Two more clean free throws (14-15!!) and Giannis is up to 41 points – his third 40-point game of the series!

Another block for Giannis on Booker’s drive to the hoop – he’s up to five blocks. It leads to a fast break where Giannis is fouled and sinks two more free throws to put the Bucks up by six (90-84).

 

21 — Be right back … looking up the last time a player had 50 points in a closeout game in the NBA Finals.

 

22 — Big offensive rebound by Jae Crowder (it may be considered a Bucks rebound and a steal by Crowder, but either way it was big). Bucks were about to have the ball and an eight-point lead with three minutes to play. Instead, it’s Crowder to Booker to Ayton for a layup and a six-point game and a Bucks timeout.

 

23 — Now that’s how you make up for a bad turnover. First, Khris Middleton tries to force a shot and turns the ball over, leading to a pair of Jae Crowder free throws to cut the lead to four points. But on the next Bucks’ possession, Middleton elevates for the fade-away jumper off the handoff from Giannis and nails it. Bucks up by six with 57 seconds left.

Booker got a good look at an open three, but it rims out. Milwaukee gets the rebound and Middleton draws the foul to get to the free throw line to make it a three-possession game with 45 seconds left.

Chris Paul misses the three. Bucks get the board and get the ball over half court and call time with 25.5 seconds left and an eight point lead. The 80+ thousand Bucks fans inside and around the arena tonight are going crazy — they can taste it!

 

24 — Giannis makes the first of two free throws with 8.9 seconds remaining to give him 50 points for the game. He becomes only the seventh player in NBA history with a 50-point Finals game. Pretty good company here: Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Jerry West, Bob Pettit, Elgin Baylor and Rick Barry.

 

BONUS — The Milwaukee Bucks are the 2020-21 NBA Champions!

Milwaukee dropped the first two games of the series and came back to win the next four to clinch the title – join the 1977 Blazers and 2006 Heat as the only teams to accomplish that feat. Bucks in Six.

No surprise here that Giannis earns the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP Award. He had a Game 6 for the ages, just an incredible series overall (these numbers are absolutely ridiculous: 35.2 PPG, 13.2 RPG, 5.0 APG, 1.8 BPG, 1.2 SPG, 61.8 FG%). And three weeks ago, we all thought his season was done with a gruesome-looking knee injury. A freak indeed.

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