Giannis ends Bucks' 50-year NBA title wait

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Giannis Antetokounmpo has ended one of the great NBA Finals with a 50-point performance and a championship that Milwaukee have waited 50 years to win again.

Antetokounmpo also had 14 rebounds and five blocked shots in a dominant performance as the Bucks defeated the Phoenix Suns 105-98 to clinch the best-of-seven NBA Finals 4-2.

"I want to thank Milwaukee for believing in me," Antetokounmpo said.

"I wanted to do it in this city. I wanted to do it with these guys."

Greek forward Antetokounmpo produced a masterpiece as he led the way with a play-offs career-high 50 points to secure a championship that will surely soothe the Bucks' recent history of post-season failure.

The 26-year-old became just the seventh player to score 50 points in an NBA finals game.

Two-time league MVP Antetokounmpo was named NBA Finals MVP for a series in which he averaged 35.2 points and 13.2 rebounds.

It was the third game this series with at least 40 points and 10 rebounds for Antetokounmpo, a dominant, debut finals performance that takes its place among some of the game's greatest.

He shot 16 for 25 from the field and made an unbelievable 17-of-19 free throws - a spectacular performance for any shooter, let alone one who was hitting just 55.6 per cent in the post-season and was ridiculed for it at times.

"People told me I can't make free throws and I made them tonight. And I'm a freaking champion," Antetokounmpo - who was drafted 15th in the 2013 NBA draft - said.

Unlike last year's NBA Finals when the celebratory screams of the Los Angeles Lakers echoed across an arena void of fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bucks' win kicked off a wild party for both a capacity crowd of 17,000 inside and the 65,000 supporters who attended a watch party outside the arena.

The Bucks are only the fifth team to win the best-of-seven championship series after losing the first two games.

Phoenix overcame a slow start to the game and led by as many as seven points early in the third quarter but could not contain Antetokounmpo down the stretch.

Suns guard Chris Paul had a team-high 26 points to end his first NBA Finals appearance in his 16th season.

Devin Booker added 19 points but shot just 8 for 22 and missed all seven 3-pointers after scoring 40 points in Games 4 and 5.

"There's just a pain that goes with your season being over," Suns coach Monty Williams said.

"But I've never dealt with this and so I'm grateful, like I said, but I know this is going to hurt for a while."

The teams that came into the NBA together as expansion clubs in 1968 delivered a fine finals, with the last three games all in the balance deep into the fourth quarter.

The Bucks won them all largely because of Antetokounmpo and big efforts when required from Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday while the Suns' quest for a maiden crown continues.

With AP

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