Three weeks ago, a knee injury left Giannis Antetokounmpo looking 50/50 to return for the rest of the Bucks’ playoff run.
Look at him now.
“The Greek Freak” delivered perhaps the best performance of his career at the best possible moment, and can now add an NBA Finals MVP award to his two regular-season Kia MVP trophies. Antetokounmpo scored 50 points in a series-clinching 105-98 Game 6 victory that ended the Bucks’ 50-year title drought.
In the course of doing so he amassed all manner of statistical feats in both his Game 6 barrage and his Finals showing overall. Here are some key stats to know from Antetokounmpo’s foray in the 2021 NBA Finals as well as what the Bucks pulled off in the series, too.
Some Finals MVP factoids
Antetokounmpo became Finals MVP, making him one of lowest players drafted to take home the honors.
|1983||Moses Malone||Not drafted (began career in ABA)|
|2014 & 2019||Kawhi Leonard||15th|
Additionally, he is one of four international players to collect Finals MVP honors.
|Hakeem Olajuwon||1994, ’95|
Doing the heavy lifting
Antetokounmpo dropped 50 points in the Game 6 clincher, becoming the second player in NBA history to do so. The last one was Bob Pettit in 1958, when he had 50 points for the then-St. Louis (now Atlanta) Hawks in Game 6 against the Boston Celtics.
Overall, Antetokounmpo averaged 35.2 ppg, 13.2 rpg and 5.0 apg in The Finals. The last player to average 35 or more points, 10 or more rebounds and five or more assists in The Finals? LeBron James, when he posted 35.8 ppg, 13.3 rpg and 8.8 apg in the 2015 Finals for the Cleveland Cavaliers as they lost 4-2 to the Golden State Warriors.
Per Elias Sports Bureau, Antetokounmpo scored 47.6% of his teams points in Game 6. That was one of the largest percentages in a single game in Finals history.
|Date||Player (Team)||Percent of team points scored||Opponent||Points out of total points|
|April 8, 1950||George Mikan (Lakers)||54.4%||at Nationals||37 of 68 total points|
|June 14, 1998||Michael Jordan (Bulls)||51.7%||at Jazz||45 of 87 total points|
|June 16, 1993||Michael Jordan (Bulls)||49.5%||vs. Suns||55 of 111 total points|
|April 14, 1962||Elgin Baylor (Lakers)||48.4%||vs. Celtics||42 of 88 total points|
|July 20, 2021||Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks)||47.6%||vs. Suns||50 of 105 total points|
|April 11, 1954||George Mikan (Lakers)||47.6%||vs. Nationals||30 of 63 total points|
Down 0-2? No worries here
All of Milwaukee’s title hopes may have seemed lost after Game 2 of The Finals. After all, the Bucks were in an 0-2 hole and had lost both games by 10 or more points. However, Milwaukee flipped the script on that aspect of The Finals and joined four other teams that did likewise in NBA history.
|2021||Bucks||Suns||Bucks won, 4-2|
|2016||Cavs||Warriors||Cavs won, 4-3|
|2006||Heat||Mavs||Heat won, 4-2|
|1977||Trail Blazers||76ers||Blazers won, 4-2|
|1969||Celtics||Lakers||Celtics won, 4-3|
More stats tidbits from Bucks’ run
Not only was Antetokounmpo outstanding for the Bucks in The Finals, but he delivered all playoffs long. In terms of total stats, he rang up 634 points, 269 rebounds and 108 assists in the 2021 playoffs. That made him the third player with 600+ points, 250+ rebounds and 100+ assists in a single postseason, joining Charles Barkley in 1993 (638 points, 326 rebounds, 102 assists) and Larry Bird in 1984 (632 points, 252 rebounds, 136 assists).
Some other stats tidbits to know about Antetokounmpo’s playoff and Finals run:
• He shot 61.8% in The Finals while averaging 30+ points, 10+ rebounds and 5+ assists, becoming the first player to do that while also shooting 60% or better in the championship series.
• Antetokounmpo (35.2 ppg, 61.8% on FGs) joins Shaquille O’Neal (38.0 ppg, 61.1% FG in the 2000 Finals) as the only players in NBA history to record 30+ ppg on 60%+ shooting in a Finals series.
• Since the beginning of the shot clock era (1954-55), Antetokounmpo (30.2 PPG, 56.9% FG) is the sixth player to average 30+ PPG on 55%+ FG in a single playoff run (min. 10 games). The others on that list:
|Kareem Abdul-Jabbar||1970, ’74, ’77, ’80|
|Shaquille O’Neal||1998, 2000, ’01|
• Giannis Antetokounmpo (35.2 ppg, 13.2 rpg, 5.0 apg), Khris Middleton (24.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 5.3 apg) and Jrue Holiday (16.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 9.3 apg) are the first trio of teammates in NBA history to each average 15+ ppg, 5+ rpg and 5+ apg in a Finals series.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.