A still-recovering Giannis Antetokounmpo was on the losing side of the NBA finals game 1 as the Milwaukee Bucks were defeated on Tuesday by the Phoenix Suns 105-118.
Antetokounmpo, who suffered a knee injury last week, was cautious throughout the game. He scored 20 to go along with 17 rebounds in the loss, but played only 35 minutes and couldn’t be as aggressive in the paint as he usually is with 11 field goal attempts in the game.
Even in defeat, he had the biggest highlight of the night with an incredible second-quarter chase-down block:
GIANNIS SUPERHUMAN BLOCK 🤯 pic.twitter.com/5nbETqLGmc
— ESPN (@espn) July 7, 2021
Antetokounmpo: Happy I’m back for the NBA finals
After the game, Antetokounmpo said: “I thought I’m going to be out for a year, you know. I’m just happy that two games later, I’m back.”
Game 2 of the NBA Finals will be played on Thursday. A win in that game would take the Suns within two wins of the title, while a Milwaukee win would even up the series and give the Bucks home-court advantage.
The two sides were close for most of the first half before Phoenix pushed the lead as high as 20 in the third quarter.
A furious Bucks comeback cut it back down to seven in the fourth quarter, but the Suns just would not be denied. They took Milwaukee’s punch and countered with several of their own, ultimately winning Game 1, 118-105.
Chris Paul led the way with yet another stellar postseason outing. He scored 32 points to lead the Suns, but Devin Booker wasn’t far behind with 27 of his own.
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) July 7, 2021
Giannis Antetokounmpo suffered a knee injury last week during Game Four of the Eastern Conference finals. Fortunately, the injury was less serious than previously feared.
MRI results indicated that the structure of the star’s knee is good, with no major damage to the joints or ligaments.
The Greek Freak needed help off the court after suffering a hyperextended knee in the third quarter after jumping to defend a Hawks alley-oop, and he did not return to the game.
Antetokounmpo twice the NBA Most Valuable Player
Born in Greece to Nigerian parents, Antetokounmpo began playing basketball for the youth teams of Filathlitikos in Athens. In 2011, he began playing for the club’s senior team before entering the 2013 NBA draft, where he was selected 15th overall by the Bucks.
Antetokounmpo’s nationality, in addition to his combination of size, speed and ball-handling skills earned him the nickname “Greek Freak”.
Antetokounmpo won back-to-back NBA Most Valuable Player Awards in 2019 and 2020, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James as the only players in NBA history to win two MVPs before turning 26.
Along with his MVP award, he was also named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2020, becoming only the third player after Michael Jordan (1988) and Hakeem Olajuwon (1994) to win both awards in the same season.