The 2021 NBA Finals are over, and the Milwaukee Bucks are the new champions. On Tuesday night, the Bucks defeated the Phoenix Suns 105-98 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals to win the series. It's their first championship win since 1971, three years after the team was founded.
This win by the Bucks marks the end of a very interesting 2020-21 season. The Bucks made the finals for the first time since 1974 when Kareem Abdul-Jabar was the star player. The team was led by two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo who was able to bounce back from a knee injury during the NBA Finals. Along with winning two MVP awards, Antetokounmpo won NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2020 and Most Improved Player in 2017. He scored 50 points and pulled down 14 rebounds in Game 6 of the 2021 NBA Finals.
C H A M P I O N S 🏆July 21, 2021
"It helped me mature and grow and become more mentally tough," Antetokounmpo said to reporters this week when talking about the Bucks' previous playoff disappointments. "It doesn't really matter. This is a playoff game. Anything can happen. I remember in the (2019) Eastern Conference Finals, we were up 2-0 and lost four straight. I'm trying to think what was the mindset of the other team. Leaving Milwaukee down 2-0, and now they're thinking they got to go back home, protect home court and then come back here, get one. I'm just trying to think what they did and try to learn from our mistakes and our failures as much as possible. I don't focus on the past. I try to learn from it and move on."
The Suns reached the Finals for the first time since 1993 when Charles Barkley became the face of the franchise. Point guard Chris Paul, who joined the team in November 2020, was able to have an MVP-type season while shooting guard Devin Booker emerged as one of the bright young stars in the NBA. During the regular season, Booker averaged 25.6 and 4.3 assists per game.
"It's definitely exciting," Paul said before Game 6 of the NBA Finals. "Something that Coach and everybody has been saying: If you went to the beginning of the season and said we had a chance to be where we are right now, would you take it? Absolutely. Absolutely. And we get a chance to determine the outcome. It's not like the game is going to be simulated or somebody else got to play. We get a chance. We control our own destiny. So I think that's the exciting part about it."