Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Game 7 performance vs. the Brooklyn Nets did wonders for the Milwaukee Bucks superstar’s legacy.
By defeating the No. 2-seeded Nets in Brooklyn on Saturday night 115-11, Milwaukee punched its ticket to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second time in three years. This is the second time it has happened during the Mike Budenholzer era of Bucks basketball. Fate would have it they will face his former team in the Atlanta Hawks. Neither team has been to the NBA Finals since 1974.
If you want to understand how Milwaukee beat Brooklyn in Game 7, just look at Antetokounmpo.
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Game 7 vs. the Brooklyn Nets was a legacy builder
Milwaukee won back-to-back games down 3-2 in the best-of-seven series to advance. While winning at home at Fiserv Forum was par for the course, to go into the Barclays Center and beat arguably the best player in basketball at his place is amazing. Antetokounmpo had 40 points on 15-of-24 shooting, 13 rebounds and five assists in over 50 minutes of action for Milwaukee.
Yes, Durant may have led all players with 48 points in defeat, but what Antetokounmpo did on Saturday night signifies this might be Milwaukee’s time to win an NBA championship. This was a high-pressure situation where everybody outside of Milwaukee thought the Bucks were going to fail. A Game 6 or Game 7 loss would have absolutely cost Budenholzer his job with the franchise.
Instead, Antetokounmpo gave his all in an overtime thriller with a conference finals bid on the line. Keep in mind that Brooklyn had been the favorite to win the NBA Finals this year before Antetokounmpo and the Bucks knocked them out in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. While a conference finals loss to Atlanta would be devastating, Antetokounmpo has improved his legacy.
This is a player who will in all likelihood lead the Bucks to their first league championship since the days of Lew Alcindor and Oscar Robertson at the helm. It might happen this summer, or it may finally happen in a future summer down the line. However, by taking full control of his game in the biggest of moments vs. the best player in the game right now in Durant, that speaks volumes.
After doing the improbable, nothing is impossible for Antetokounmpo and his team going forward.