The Milwaukee Bucks winning their first NBA Finals in 50 years will be an indelible mark in the team’s history, one which fans won’t soon forget.
There were several incredible, memorable moments in Milwaukee’s six-game series win over Phoenix. We’ve compiled 10 of our favorites.
Here they are listed in order from 10th-most memorable all the way to No. 1. Enjoy reliving them all.
David Bakhtiari’s dad
Green Bay Packers offensive tackle Bakhtiari has been something of a hit at Bucks game by quickly chugging a beer when shown on the big screen. The crowd cheers loudly for their Packers hero. During Game 3, Bakhtiari did it again – and then his father followed suit, whipping the crowd into an even bigger frenzy. That’s what an NBA Finals should be all about – going one step beyond! Oh, and family. Yeah, that, too.
The “Bobby” chants
Bobby Portis quickly became a beloved figure in Milwaukee. Fans chanted his name throughout the playoffs at home – as noted by Pat Connaughton, players other than Giannis aren’t given their own chants in Milwaukee -- and he was energized by it and, in turn, it energized the team. In Game 3, Milwaukee’s first win of the series, he contributed 11 points and eight rebounds in just over 18 minutes. In Tuesday’s Game 6 clincher, 16 points (third highest on the team). A lot of things will be remembered from the Bucks championship and “Bob-by, Bob-by” will certainly be one of them.
Giannis Game 6 dunk surrounded by Suns
We’re not saying Giannis Antetokounmpo was unstoppable this series, especially starting in Game 3, but Phoenix collapsed nearly its entire team on the Bucks superstar midway through the fourth quarter of Game 6 and, well, they needed more players. The rim-rattling dunk was something to behold.
Why we love Portis – Game 6 passion
Portis, as noted, became a fan favorite. His blue-collar work ethic all while having fun on the court were big reasons why. He demonstrated those qualities in Game 6, first when he ran down the court after being called for a foul he didn’t believe he committed (OK, he got a technical foul – which was missed, thankfully – but we still loved it) and after a ball went out of bounds getting in front of Phoenix’s Chris Paul, who objected to the call, all while wearing a big smile. Keep being you, Bobby.
The Bucks’ opening possession of the series
After missing the final two games of the Eastern Conference finals, Giannis Antetokounmpo was deemed ready to play in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. A Milwaukee fanbase held its breath, concerned how healthy Antetokounmpo could be after suffering a nasty hyperextension of his left knee against Atlanta just a week earlier. The Bucks put the fears to rest early. Milwaukee’s first play of the game was an alley-oop lob to Antetokounmpo, who ended up getting fouled. But it showed that he was ready to play and wasn’t going to hold back his game. As we found out as the games went on, Giannis was full-go.
The superb passing off a fastbreak in Game 3
Late in the first half of Game 3, Jrue Holiday stole the ball by the basket as Phoenix tried to work in a shot. What followed next was one of the better displays of ball movement in transition that you’ll see. Holiday dribbled downcourt then did a behind-the-back pass to Khris Middleton, who returned the ball to Holiday, who then, as he was driving to the hoop, fed it to a trailing Portis for a slam. It was a beauty to behold and showed how the Bucks can play when things are clicking. The dunk gave Milwaukee a 10-point lead as the Bucks eventually won by 20.
Middleton’s 10-point run at the end of Game 4
After winning Game 3, Milwaukee had to continue to hold serve in Game 4. It was a nip-and-tuck game late into the fourth quarter. Phoenix led 99-97 with just over two minutes to play following a pair of free throws from Jae Crowder. That’s when Middleton took over. He scored the game’s next eight points -- and 10 in a row for the Bucks -- including a 15-footer as he drifted to the right which tied the game and a 17-foot pullup jumper to give Milwaukee the lead for, as it turned out, good. There were other big moments in Game 4 (see below) but Middleton was “The Man” in the waning moments as well.
Middleton’s shot with under a minute left in Game 6
That 15-footer we mentioned above? Middleton pulled off nearly the exact same play in Game 6, hitting a gliding pullup over Devin Booker with 59 seconds remaining to push Milwaukee’s lead to six points. It wasn’t an insurmountable six points, but this shot made it really feel like the Bucks were going to win this game and capture the NBA championship.
Block of Ayton alley-oop in Game 4
Instantly iconic. Giannis Antetokounmpo’s series-altering block in Game 4 ranks right up there with LeBron James’ 88-foot chase-down rejection versus Golden State in 2016 as perhaps the greatest stop in NBA Finals history. Had Deandre Ayton left his feet a millisecond earlier or Antetokounmpo not instinctively turned toward the hoop at just the right moment, Phoenix likely would have tied the game at 101 with about a minute to go. Instead, the “Greek Freak” cemented his status in Finals lore and the Suns retreated to Phoenix -- deflated of any momentum -- with the series knotted at two games apiece.
Jrue steal, Giannis slam to seal Game 5 on road
Words don’t quite do this moment justice. With 20 ticks left on the clock, Devin Booker drove into the paint, started to pull back and fire a jump shot like he’d done so many times before. A hesitation caused by a leaping P.J. Tucker forced Booker to turn away, directly into Jrue Holiday’s line of sight. What transpired next is the stuff of legend. Holiday ripped the ball from Booker’s grasp, raced across midcourt and began to slow the tempo, presumably to maintain possession as time trickled away. From this vantage point, you see what Holiday sensed -- Antetokounmpo galloping down the floor -- as the Bucks’ veteran guard opted to deliver a lob that he knew only one or two players in the world could finish. The two-time MVP did the rest and gave Milwaukee a 122-119 lead. Every bit of this play, from the facial expressions to the chutzpah it takes to risk such an opportunity makes this moment one for the ages.