Giannis Antetokounmpo’s regular season accolades already stood solidly alongside the greatest legends of the game. Now his postseason accomplishments are beginning to do the same.
The former two-time Kia MVP dominated in Milwaukee’s 120-100 win over Phoenix on Sunday, amassing 41 points and 13 rebounds as the Bucks earned their first Finals victory since 1974 and made the current series a 2-1 affair.
Antetokounmpo’s performance comes on the heels of his 42-point, 12-rebound effort in Game 2. The Grecian-born superstar becomes just the second player in NBA history with back-to-back 40-point, 10-rebound games in The Finals, joining Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal.
Giannis joins Shaq. #ThatsGame
— NBA (@NBA) July 12, 2021
Simply scoring 40 points in consecutive Finals games was rare enough; Antetokounmpo is just the sixth player in league history to do it, joining Michael Jordan, Jerry West, Rick Barry, LeBron James, and O’Neal. Aside from that feat, Antetokounmpo has amassed 103 points in his first three Finals games. Per Elias Sports, that ranks fourth all-time trailing only Barry, Allen Iverson and Willis Reed.
|Rick Barry (Warriors)||1967||122|
|Allen Iverson (76ers)||2001||106|
|Willis Reed (Knicks)||1970||104|
Additionally, Antetokounmpo joins Reed as the only players with 100 or more points and 40 or more rebounds in their first three career Finals games. Reed logged 104 points and 48 rebounds in his first three Finals games in 1970.
“At the end of the day, what I think is ‘always stay aggressive. Always try to get downhill,'” Antetokounmpo said after Game 3.
He has done so in vintage fashion. In Games 2 and 3 combined, the All-NBA forward has scored 74 of his 83 points either in the paint or at the free throw line.