Bucks Celebrate First NBA Title Since 1971

 (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

By Terrance Turner

July 20, 2021 (updated July 22)

The Milwaukee Bucks battled the Phoenix Suns tonight in a crucial Game 6. The Bucks led 3-2 in the series; they needed one more win for their first championship since 1971. The Suns had to win in order to force a Game 7 in their hometown. Game 6 featured wild wings in momentum and scoring, but the Bucks prevailed. With 17,000 fans inside Milwaukee’s Fiserv Forum and thousands more outside, the home team delivered a championship to a city that hadn’t seen it in 50 years. Giannis Antetokoumpo delivered a performance for the ages, dropping 50 points to power the Bucks past the Suns, 105-98.

There were turnovers by both sides early, but the Bucks were up 15-11 before Bobby Portis hit a three-pointer. On the next possession, he hit another three to make it 21-14. Antetokoumpo made back-to-back baskets, driving with a spin move to put his team ahead by 11. Phoenix would respond, but Giannis was fouled again. Free throws have been a consistent issue for him, but he made them both. Then, after his shot didn’t go, teammate Brook Lopez rebounded and scored. That cemented a commanding lead: the Bucks led 29-13 at the end of the first quarter.

Phoenix roared back, outscoring the Bucks 31-10 in the second quarter. Phoenix would race out on a 10-0 run, cutting Milwaukee’s lead to just single digits. Buckets by Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges and Chris Paul eventually erased the lead entirely. The Suns tied the game at 33 with 5:20 left. Then they took the lead. The Bucks had no answer for Suns guard Chris Paul, who outsmarted defenders to score one basket after another. They also struggled from the field (just 3-of-17, per SBNation). By the end of the quarter, the Suns had pushed their lead to five. It was 47-42 at halftime.

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