Giannis Antetokounmpo is putting up numbers in these NBA playoffs rarely seen before.
In the NBA Finals, he’s doing something no one has done previously.
Here’s our usual reminder that Antetokounmpo hyperextended his left knee in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals against Atlanta and many (most? all?) people thought he was done for the season, Giannis included.
Which makes his NBA Finals performance even that more amazing. Entering Tuesday’s Game 6, Antetokounmpo is averaging 32.3 points, 13.0 rebounds and 5.6 assists while shooting 61.2% from the floor.
If he can maintain those averages, or close to them at least, he’d be the first player in history to average 30-10-5 with a 60% field-goal percentage in an NBA Finals.
Not bad for a guy who recovered from that injury which caused him to miss \checks notes\ two games.
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Antetokounmpo’s game has picked up throughout the playoffs.
Against Miami, he averaged 23.5 points, 15.0 rebounds and 7.8 assists while averaging as Milwaukee swept the Heat in four games.
In a tough seven-game series win over Brooklyn in the semifinals, he averaged 31.9 points, 12.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists while playing 40.1 minutes per game (up nearly four minutes from the opening series vs. Miami).
In the first three games against Atlanta, Antetokounmpo averaged 30.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.0 blocks over 37.0 minutes. Getting injured in the third quarter of Game 4 naturally lowered his averages for the series, although he still finished at 26.5 points, 10.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists while shooting 60.8%.
Overall in 20 playoff games with one (perhaps two, but, well, hopefully not) remaining, Antetokounmpo is averaging 29.2 points, 12.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists (also 1.1 steals and 1.0 blocks) while making 56.5% of his shots.
Only two players in NBA history have averaged 29+ points, 12+ rebounds and 5+ assists over a full playoffs.
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Russell Westbrook did it last in 2017-18 – 29.3, 12.0, 7.5 – while playing for Oklahoma City, but with the caveat he only appeared in six games as the Thunder were knocked out in the first round.
The other player was Oscar Robertson in 1962-63 for Cincinnati. He averaged 31.8 points, 13.0 rebounds and 9.0 assists (on 47.0% shooting) in 12 games.
Robertson, of course, won an NBA title with Milwaukee in 1970-71, championship company Antetokounmpo hopes to join Tuesday night.
But no one is in the company of postseason greatness which Antetokounmpo has displayed this postseason.