BOSTON — A receiving line was established for Boston CelticsCoaches and players waiting for a response Giannis AntetokounmpoEach patting was allowed after Game 7 finished Sunday afternoon. Milwaukee BucksStar on the chest or shoulders
They were grateful to him for his respect, but they were most eager to say goodbye.
On Monday, the Celtics will be arriving in Miami to begin the Eastern Conference finals.
Already with a dazzling postseason résumé, the performance Antetokounmpo put forth in this second-round series was still one for the ages. The most remarkable thing is that the Celtics managed to withstand it.
Boston's Game 7 win over the Bucks, 109 to 81, was a disappointing end to a highly contested two weeks. The road team had won four times and the balance between power and control was shifting constantly.
“Giannis has the highest level of play in the world. That's why you can see so many people saying it,” Celtics guard Jaylen Brown said. He is just relentless in his approach. He is relentless in his approach. He won't be denied. It was hard for us to do that in the series.”
Antetokounmpo reached the semifinals by winning back-to-back 20 point, 20 rebound games. He scored 44 points and had 20 rebounds in Game 6 and had 25 points and 20 rebound with 9 assists in Games 7 and 7. Both were successful. Losses. Antetokounmpo joined Bill Russell Wilt Chamberlain as the only players to lose consecutive postseason games with a 20-20, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
After Antetokounmpo had beaten them in Game 1, they decided to change course. He was allowed to get his own numbers, while still swarming him with the paint. The Celtics meanwhile remained focused on their supporting cast.
And Khris MiddletonAntetokounmpo, Antetokounmpo’s All-Star teammate and shot creator and clutch scorer, missed the whole series due to a knee injury sustained in the first round. There was hope that Middleton might have made a comeback and could have been a surprise in the final series. Sources say that after he did some light on-court training last week, it became obvious that he wouldn’t be able or even able return to the conference finals, if Milwaukee had advanced.
A few Bucks fans were able to hear some of their fellow travelers whisper about those who did not give them full credit for their championship win last year due to a series of injuries sustained by other teams in the playoffs.
Bottom line: In the last two games, the Bucks made 11-of-62 3-pointers while the Celtics made 55-of-98. It was a shocking game in Game 7. The Bucks went 1-of-23 in the last three quarters and the Celtics did 22. It is an insurmountable ratio, regardless of the circumstances.
Compare that to this — Antetokounmpo is the first player to:
Achieve 200 points, 100 boards and 50 assists in one playoff series
Average 40 points, fifteen rebounds, and five assists during a span of four games (Games 3-6).
Since Shaquille Ol'Neal's 2001 season, you have 25 points, 20 boards and five assists in consecutive playoff matches
Ime Udoka, Celtics coach, said that finding the balance is one of the most difficult things to do. Let's get to the [superstar]Let them know you are interested in the matter and get started [for teammates]. We trusted our guys.”
The Bucks were able to win Game 7 in the end. On Sunday, they had to change their strategy. Grant WilliamsHe was mostly covered and attempted to protect the paint. However, he had his best game ever. He hit seven 3-pointers on the way to 27 points.
Antetokounmpo realized this and made peace with it. It's easier to do this when you already have two MVPs and a Finals MVP.
Antetokounmpo admitted, without any hint of stress, that he enjoyed the series. “Wasn’t in a position to win. I wish we were the winning team on Tuesday. But we aren't. … You have to be respectful of someone beating you.