The Celtics outlasted Giannis Antetokounmpo and his postseason for the ages

BOSTON — There was a receiving line of Boston Celtics gamers and coaches ready to talk to Giannis Antetokounmpo after Recreation 7 ended Sunday afternoon, every patting the Milwaukee Bucks star on the chest or shoulders.

They have been completely happy to present him respect however principally desperate to say goodbye.

When the Celtics arrive in Miami on Monday to begin the Jap Convention finals, they may as nicely have bumper stickers on their baggage: “We survived Giannis.”

Already with a stunning postseason résumé, the efficiency Antetokounmpo put forth on this second-round collection was nonetheless one for the ages. And that’s what’s maybe most spectacular — that the Celtics withstood it.

Boston’s 109-81 Recreation 7 victory over the Bucks was an unfitting finish to a hotly contested two weeks, with the street group profitable 4 occasions and the stability of energy always shifting.

“Giannis is one of the best participant on this planet. You’ll be able to see why lots of people say that,” Celtics guard Jaylen Brown stated. “He’s simply relentless in his method. He’s aggressive on a regular basis. He’s not going to be denied. And that was robust for us within the collection.”

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Antetokounmpo completed the semifinals with back-to-back 20-point, 20-rebound video games. He had 44 factors and 20 rebounds in Recreation 6, and 25 factors and 20 rebounds with 9 assists in Recreation 7. They usually have been each losses. Antetokounmpo joined Invoice Russell and Wilt Chamberlain as the one gamers to lose consecutive postseason video games with a 20-20, in accordance with ESPN Stats & Data analysis.

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After Antetokounmpo crushed them with passing in Recreation 1, the Celtics elected to alter course, letting him get his personal numbers — whereas nonetheless routinely swarming him within the paint — and concentrating on his supporting solid.

And Khris Middleton — Antetokounmpo’s All-Star teammate, shot creator and clutch scorer — missed all the collection due to a knee harm suffered within the first spherical. At one level within the collection there was some hope Middleton might have returned and been a late-series shock. However after he began mild on-court work final week, sources stated, it grew to become clear he wouldn’t have been in a position, and even in a position to return in the beginning of the convention finals had Milwaukee superior.

Because the Bucks headed off to their final group flight of the season, a couple of members of their touring occasion whispered of some who didn’t give the group full credit score for its championship final season due to quite a few accidents to different groups in the course of the playoffs — and that these skeptics ought to recollect the Bucks misplaced this one with out their second star.

The underside line: The Bucks went 11-of-62 on 3-pointers during the last two video games, whereas the Celtics went 55-of-98. In Recreation 7, it was outrageous; the Bucks made 1-of-23 during the last three quarters, and the Celtics set a franchise file by making 22 whole. That’s an unsurvivable ratio underneath any circumstance.

Distinction that readout to this — Antetokounmpo was the primary participant to:

Amass 200 factors, 100 rebounds and 50 assists in a single playoff collection

Common 40 factors, 15 rebounds and 5 assists over a four-game span (Video games 3-6)

Have 25 factors, 20 rebounds and 5 assists in consecutive playoff video games since Shaquille O’Neal in 2001

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“It’s one of many hardest issues to do, discover that stability,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka stated. “Let the [superstar] get going to allow them to open issues up [for teammates]. We determined to belief our guys.”

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In reality, it was an accomplishment for the Bucks to succeed in Recreation 7. Then on Sunday, the technique to go away Grant Williams principally uncovered and to guard the paint backfired as he had one of the best sport of his profession, hitting seven 3-pointers en path to 27 factors.

Realizing this, Antetokounmpo was at peace. Which is simpler when you have already got two MVPs, a Finals MVP, a Larry O’Brien trophy and a $250 million contract.

“I loved this collection,” Antetokounmpo stated with no trace of stress. “Wasn’t in a position to win. I want we have been the group that may play on Tuesday, however we’re not. … On the finish of the day, when someone beats you, you’ve bought to respect it.”