Antetokounmpo has supplied countless heroics for the Bucks, with Milwaukee erasing a 2-0 deficit to the Phoenix Suns and now just one win away from capturing its first title since 1971. He also finds himself in a very exclusive NBA Finals club through the series’ first five games.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is the favorite to win Finals MVP
Antetokounmpo will all but certainly be awarded Finals MVP should the Bucks win the series.
The “Greek Freak” is putting up incredible averages of 32.2 points, 13.0 rebounds, and 5.6 assists through the first five games. He has also gotten it done on the other end of the floor, averaging 1.4 steals and 1.2 blocks per contest.
Antetokounmpo has a +22 net rating, and his 29.9 average Game Score is far and away the best mark of any player on either team. However, the numbers only tell part of the series.
It’s not just that Antetokounmpo is dominating. He is also making the biggest plays in the biggest moments. The 26-year-old’s spectacular block on Deandre Ayton in Game 4 might have won the Bucks the game and could ultimately go down as one of the best defensive plays in Finals history. His and-1 dunk over Chris Paul sealed Game 5 and also provided an indelible image.
Let’s also not forget: Antetokounmpo is doing all this just weeks after suffering a hyperextended knee, making his play all the more awesome to behold.
Antetokounmpo joined LeBron James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the history books
LeBron James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are two of the best players in NBA history. Any player mentioned in the same breath as those two legends is on hallowed ground.
Antetokounmpo finds himself on said ground.
The Bucks superstar joined James and Abdul-Jabbar in becoming just the third player to tally at least 150 points, 50 rebounds, and 25 assists through the first five games of a Finals series. Abdul-Jabbar accomplished the feat in 1974 as a member of the Bucks, while James has remarkably reached these numbers in three different Finals.
Those numbers speak to Antetokounmpo’s ability to impact the game in a myriad of ways. He is almost unstoppable in transition and equally difficult to contain when he gets downhill. Antetokounmpo can also make plays for his teammates on drive-and-kick action while constantly hunting offensive rebounds.
Antetokounmpo’s all-around excellence has him in an elite company. Then again, this achievement might not mean much if Antetokounmpo and the Bucks cannot close out the Suns.
Can the Bucks close out the NBA Finals?
Milwaukee’s win in Game 5 was massive for many reasons.
Aside from grabbing the series lead, the Bucks also earned the first road victory of the series. Milwaukee suddenly has the home-court advantage and can win the series at Fiserv Forum, where they have lost just one game during the course of the 2021 playoffs.
After all the speculation regarding his future last offseason, Giannis Antetokounmpo is within arm’s reach of his first NBA championship. The Bucks will likely hope his stellar play continues as they hope to win the title on their home floor.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.