Reliving The Milwaukee Bucks NBA Championship

Yesterday, July 20th, marked the one-year anniversary of the Milwaukee Bucks second NBA Championship in franchise history and it was hard to not have a smile on my face yesterday while going through my camera roll and chatting with my friend and she’s as diehard of a Bucks fan as I am reminiscing the run.

The championship run started with an opening round sweep of the Miami Heat, which I think was expected, or at least finish that series in five games at most.

Then there was the second round showdown with the Brooklyn Nets, which was the premier series in the entire NBA Playoffs leading up to the Finals. Two heavyweights going at it, with the winner likely representing the East in the Finals.

Leading in to that Brooklyn series, I thought there was a very realistic chance the Bucks would win the series, but gave Brooklyn the advantage due to having home court. But Brooklyn outclassed Milwaukee the first two games of the series, including leading by I believe it was as much as 49-points in Game 2, and at that point I was just hoping the Bucks would win one game to avoid a sweep.

The Bucks won an ugly Game 3 that was a dogfight and pulled away in the second half of Game 4 to even up the series 2-2.

Then came the epic meltdown in Brooklyn in Game 5 where the Bucks squandered a 15-point second half lead and lost to fall down in the series 2-3. Fortunately, the Bucks were able to bounce back and protect home court with a Game 6 win to force the scariest two words in sports “Game Seven.”

Game 7 was an instant classic. It was a back-and-forth game, with some highly questionable calls favoring Brooklyn, and thanks to Kevin Durant’s big foot, the game went to overtime.

Points were at a premium in the overtime with both teams running on empty. Brooklyn scored first, 22 seconds into the extra session to take a 111-109 lead. The Bucks tied the game at 111-111 with 1:12 remaining in overtime. That’s not a typo, there were four combined points in the first 3:48 of overtime.

The play of the game, the play of the season for that matter, was Brook Lopez blocking Kevin Durant with 59.4 seconds remaining in the tie game. Then Khris Middleton gave Milwaukee the 113-111 lead with 40.7 seconds left and Brook Lopez hit two free throws with 0.3 on the clock to seal the deal and give Milwaukee the 115-111 win in overtime of Game 7.

The friend I mentioned at the start of this, we FaceTimed each other immediately after the game and all we could say is: “This is unbelievable.” And for the following month, the words “this is unbelievable” were probably said between the two of us a thousand times.

The two of us decided to go to the airport after that Game 7 to welcome the Bucks back home. Guess what we said to each other basically the entire time? You guessed it, “this is unbelievable.”

Then the legend of Brandon Jennings came to fruition. Back in 2013, the Milwaukee Bucks were the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and they took on the No. 1 seeded Miami Heat in the first round. Jennings was asked about the series and said “We’re going to win in six.” Of course, the Bucks got swept in that series.

But Brandon Jennings’ prophecy came true in 2021.

Milwaukee took care of the Atlanta Hawks in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals and did so without having Giannis Antetokounmpo the last two games of the series after what looked like a season ending and potential career altering knee injury in the Game 4 loss in Atlanta.

Once again, my friend, her and I kept saying to each other “this is unbelievable.”

Then came the NBA Finals. The Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns, who I thought were two evenly matched teams so I truly felt this series was a coin flip.

Phoenix won the first two games in Phoenix by double-digits.

Then came Game 3, the first Finals game in the city of Milwaukee since 1974 and it did not disappoint with a 120-100 win. My father came in town the day before so we went to Deer District, where there were approximately 30,000 fans there, to witness the Bucks first final win in 47 years.

Then in Game 4, the Bucks evened the series with a 109-103 win in the historic Devin Booker game being the first player to score 40+ points and commit eight fouls (only five were called).

In Game 5, the Bucks had a great start to the game and then let Phoenix back in it and then it was a tight game the rest of the way. But the only words that come to my mind about Game 5: “HOLIDAY RIPS IT AWAY!”

That radio call by Ted Davis still gives me chills to this day.

My father and I were at a sports bar for the Game 5 win, and there were maybe 30 people in the restaurant, but it felt like the entire city of Milwaukee was in the place.

“This is unbelievable,” my friend and I kept saying.

Then on Tuesday, July 20th, 2021. Game 6. I was fortunate enough to attend the game with my father, uncle and cousin. And it was an experience I’ll never forget.

I mean, after all, we are Wisconsin sports fans and we’ve grown immune to constant heartbreak and disappointment and failures with our sports teams.

But one night in the summer of 2021, it was different. The Bucks won Game 6, 105-98, to win the NBA Championship! The “Bucks in Six” happened in the Eastern Conference Finals AND NBA Finals.

The city of Milwaukee was rocking that night.

“This is unbelievable!”

World Champions, FOREVER!

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