Bucks win — Giannis’ crowning moment — The toe that made this possible

Wednesday, July 21st, 2021

  The Opening Tip

  • A bunch of stuff about Giannis and the Bucks. 

1. A quick Giannis story

Giannis’ life story is simultaneously endearing and hard to fathom. For every wholesome tweet about his first foray into smoothies (“I just taste for the first time a smothie”), there is a story about growing up in desolate poverty in Athens, Greece as the son of two Nigerian immigrants.
 

“Sometimes I used to go to school, no breakfast,” he once said. “Not sometimes, every time. Come back, there was sometimes food, sometimes no food. So now you have to go to practice. I used to come back from practice at 11 and have my first meal then.”

From then to now, he has signed a $228 million contract and lifted every person on the periphery of his life into generational wealth.

When you consider that fact, the title he clinched last night -- with an historic 50-point performance -- almost seems like house money rather than a defining moment.

Even when you section off Giannis’ story from his arrival in Milwaukee in 2013 to Game 6 of the 2021 NBA Finals, though, his life has changed so drastically.

This email from a Bucks fan to a Bucks employee from 2013, as shared on Twitter last night, tells that story:
 

“On Sat, Nov. 23, my boyfriend and I were in the Brady Street area. I saw Giannis Antetokounmpo running. We stopped and asked him if he wanted a ride. It was very cold out (below 20) and he was only wearing a windbreaker. He asked if we were going to the Bradley Center and we said yes. So he climbed into the very small back seat of our Honda Fit. I told him he needed a Winter jacket, and he said he couldn’t buy one because his credit card didn’t work and he’d sent all his money to his family in Greece. We drove him to the Bradley Center. He was very grateful.” 

That story was corroborated by SI’s Chris Mannix in a 2014 profile. Giannis had taken a cab to a Western Union. At an ATM, he had withdrawn all the cash he had and wired it home. Unable to afford another cab, he decided to run to the Bucks’ arena. He doesn’t have to run anymore.

[READ: The evolution of Giannis Antetokounmpo, from little known prospect to an NBA champion]

2. Daily GIFGiannis to Middleton; Batman to Batman

Last night was Bucks gameplan nirvana.

  • Jrue Holiday hounded Chris Paul and Devin Booker for four quarters (and shot terribly again). 
  • Giannis had his magnum opus -- which included going 17-of-19 from the free-throw line -- for three quarters and 11 minutes. 
  • Khris Middleton, struggling with his shot all game, confidently got the ball off the two-man action with Giannis and hit the tough shot that clinched the NBA Finals. 

Here’s what Giannis, teammates with Middleton since 2013, said about him after Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals:
 

“I trust this guy to death. If he wants the ball, he gets it. You better give him the ball.”
In the most important micro moment of either of their careers, Giannis backed that up, and Middleton stuck the shot.

3. Trivia time

Milwaukee as a city now has three professional titles, two of which are by the Bucks.

Which sport and team owns the other one?

Answer at the bottom.

4. Phoenix’s made and attempted 3s, Games 1-6 

The Phoenix Suns averaged 34.5 3 attempts per game during the regular season, making 13 of them on average.

Through Games 1-2 of the Finals, they averaged 37 and 15.5, respectively. In the regular season, the Suns were very good. In Games 1-2, they won easily. 

  • The Bucks’ vice grip on the series began when they started siphoning off the Suns’ 3-point attempts and makes, holding them to single-digit makes in three of the final four games. 
  • Even when the Suns had a good night from deep -- like in Game 5 -- the Bucks were able to limit the volume; it’s never good to allow a team to shoot 68 percent from 3, but it’s more palatable when that percentage comes on only 19 attempts. 

More specifically, Milwaukee almost completely stopped the Suns from taking corner 3s. In Game 2, Phoenix shot 17 corner 3s and made 10 of them. In Games 3-6, the Suns shot only nine total.

It’s been en vogue this entire postseason to claim Milwaukee and head coach Mike Budenholzer have been lacking in adjustments, but that’s a good real world example of them taking away an opponent’s strength.

5. Kevin Durant’s toe is now the cruelest, most interesting what-if in recent NBA history

Giannis and Milwaukee’s greatest moment was last night.

It was made possible because, on June 19, down two points at home in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Kevin Durant’s hockey stick foot (and, more specifically, his hockey stick toe) was an inch too long.

A 3-pointer on this play would have eliminated the Bucks. Mike Budenholzer would have been fired. Giannis would have been bumped a dozen rungs down the superstar ladder. The Jrue Holiday trade + extension would have been a disaster.

Instead … Durant’s toe planted itself on the 3-point line. So, a month and a day later, Giannis was at the podium holding a Larry O’Brien Trophy and a Finals MVP trophy talking a bunch of shit about super teams.

6. More moments from last night’s game

  • This “damn” from Devin Booker at the end of Game 6 was good drama. 
  • Suns coach Monty Williams got choked up after the game: “I wanted it so bad”
  • He also went into the Bucks’ locker room to congratulate Milwaukee. 
  • Chris Paul after the loss: “I ain’t retiring”
  • Brandon Jennings, originator of “Bucks in 6,” was in the house last night.
  • Giannis’ order from Chick-fil-A this morning: 50 chicken minis, one large half Sprite, half lemonade with no ice.  
  • Bill Russell posted a video congratulating Giannis for Finals MVP.

7.  Reads

  • The fire that forged Giannis Antetokounmpo [The Ringer]
  • Suns star and Bucks duo flip from NBA Finals foes to Olympic teammates [Yahoo Sports]
  • The unshakable bond between Bobby Portis and his mother [ESPN]
  • NBA Finals Game 6 reaction [The Lowe Post]

Trivia answer: 1957 Milwaukee Braves


That's the buzzer.
Thanks for reading the 292nd edition of The Grip.

Copyright © 2021 The Grip, All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is:
The Grip
630 Ninth Ave
Suite 1411
The Mecca, NY 10036

Add us to your address book


update your preferences | unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp

Older messages

Bucks won’t die — Giannis! — Kawhi update

Friday, July 16, 2021

Thursday, July 15th, 2021 The Opening Tip No team takes the identity of its best player as well as the Bucks. An ode to Giannis' virtuoso block last night. More details have emerged on Kawhi's

Bucks hope(?) — International Harden — Rachel Nichols situation

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Friday, July 9th, 2021 The Opening Tip A few reasons why the Bucks might still be able to make the Finals competitive. A Suns play from last night was reminiscent of how the 2014 Spurs played. A quick

Bucks-Suns coin flip — Alcindor in MIL — Finals notes

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Tuesday, July 6th, 2021 The Opening Tip The Suns and Bucks share one of the better footnotes in NBA history Notes and news ahead of Game 1 of the NBA Finals We got retro with our GIFs Tonight's

Favored Suns — Brook Lopez! — Shaq’s streak ends

Friday, July 2, 2021

Friday, July 2nd, 2021 The Opening Tip Brook Lopez turned into Shawn Kemp last night. The greatest streak in playoff basketball is over. The people have spoken on the smug deer vs. knee-padded hawk

Battle of curses — Reggie Jackson! — Buck vs. Hawk

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Tuesday, June 29th, 2021 The Opening Tip Reggie Jackson is playing like he's never played before. Some good old Bucks and Hawks nostalgia. What's up with Damian Lillard? Tonight's playoff

🔴🔴 Jurgen Klopp drops January transfer hint as Michael Owen sends Mo Salah warning

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Liverpool Echo Latest LFC stories from the Liverpool Echo Read in browser News In Your Area Liverpool FC What's On | Sign In Today's Highlights See more highlights... Jurgen Klo Latest LFC

🔴🔴 What Mohamed Salah did at 3am underlines his commitment to Liverpool

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Liverpool Echo Latest LFC stories from the Liverpool Echo Read in browser News In Your Area Liverpool FC What's On | Sign In Today's Highlights See more highlights... What Moham Latest LFC

🔴🔴 'It was absolutely unnecessary' - Klopp explains what happened at half-time vs Milan

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Liverpool Echo Latest LFC stories from the Liverpool Echo Read in browser News In Your Area Liverpool FC What's On | Sign In Today's Highlights See more highlights... 'It was ab Latest LFC

It's the Inaugural Champions League Auction!

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Listen now (70 min) | On the latest episode of Infinite Football, Ryan, Franco, and Tom hold an auction draft for the 2021-22 UEFA Champions League. Everyone gets five teams, and the further your teams

🔴🔴 Liverpool player ratings after thrilling AC Milan win

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Liverpool Echo Latest LFC stories from the Liverpool Echo Read in browser News In Your Area Liverpool FC What's On | Sign In Today's Highlights See more highlights... Liverpool Latest LFC

🔴🔴 Liverpool vs Milan LIVE - team news, score, goals and analysis

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Liverpool Echo Latest LFC stories from the Liverpool Echo Read in browser News In Your Area Liverpool FC What's On | Sign In Today's Highlights See more highlights... Liverpool Latest LFC

🔴🔴 Salah is making FSG and Liverpool's task harder as Mane point forgotten

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Liverpool Echo Latest LFC stories from the Liverpool Echo Read in browser News In Your Area Liverpool FC What's On | Sign In Today's Highlights See more highlights... How Milan' Latest LFC

Finding the real Raptors

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

The equivalent of a 60-win season followed by the equivalent of a 31-win season. What now? ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

🔴🔴 Harvey Elliott aims dig at Man Utd fan who mocked his injury on TikTok

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Liverpool Echo Latest LFC stories from the Liverpool Echo Read in browser News In Your Area Liverpool FC What's On | Sign In Today's Highlights See more highlights... Harvey Ell Latest LFC

🔴🔴 Milan's penalty prowess could hurt Reds as Klopp's men train for Champions League

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Liverpool Echo Latest LFC stories from the Liverpool Echo Read in browser News In Your Area Liverpool FC What's On | Sign In Today's Highlights See more highlights... How Milan' Latest LFC