MILWAUKEE — The Giannis Antetokounmpo-Jayson Tatum rivalry is right here. It’s defining the current of the Japanese Convention and will prolong effectively into the long run.
Antetokounmpo is placing up Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O’Neal numbers. Tatum is breaking the information of all these retired jerseys for his 75-year-old storied franchise that has 17 championships.
And the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks have not even performed Recreation 7 but.
This can be a black-and-blue collection, the ice bag and Advil counts rising by the sport. However Antetokounmpo and Tatum made artwork in Recreation 6 Friday evening, the Bucks star slamming the Celtics with two-by-fours and the Celtics star responding with high-arching dagger jumpers that cruelly extended every punch to the devastated Bucks’ crowd.
The Celtics gained 108-95 to even the collection, profitable for the second time in Milwaukee previously week. The highway groups are 4-2, illustrating simply how shut these groups are.
Antetokounmpo had 44 factors, 20 rebounds and 6 assists, the third participant in historical past to have a 40/20/5 sport within the playoffs, the opposite two being Chamberlain and O’Neal. He has three 40-point, 10-rebound video games this collection.
He is the third participant ever to have three 40-point video games towards the Celtics within the playoffs. The opposite two are Jerry West within the historic 1969 Finals when he gained the MVP regardless of the Los Angeles Lakers dropping and LeBron James, who did it in 2018 in one of the prolific collection of his profession.
And Tatum is true there with Antetokounmpo. After out-scoring, out-rebounding, out-assisting, out-stealing and out-shooting Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant within the first spherical, Tatum goes proper on the present Finals MVP on this collection.
Tatum had 46 factors Friday, the second most factors for the Celtics in an elimination sport in workforce historical past behind solely Corridor of Famer Sam Jones. He is received two 45-point video games on this playoff run — one thing Larry Hen, John Havlicek, Paul Pierce or Bob Cousy by no means did for the Celtics.
When the Bucks decreased an 18-point lead down to 5 with six minutes to play — flashbacks from the Celtics’ blown 14-point fourth quarter lead two days earlier got here to thoughts — Tatum hit a devastatingly lengthy 3-pointer that broke the momentum in maybe the evening’s largest second.
“This was our season on the road and understanding that, you allow all of it on the ground,” Tatum stated. “That is the mindset that I’ve, the mindset that all of us have. I wasn’t going to depart something on the market and have any regrets.”
He made 14 contested photographs, in keeping with ESPN Stats & Info, demoralizing the Bucks and their crowd. They’d all come to Fiserv Discussion board anticipating to see the Bucks win – and why not? This title-winning group had gained its final eight closeout sport alternatives.
After a dud in Recreation 3 during which he performed his worst sport of the postseason, taking pictures 4-of-19, Tatum vowed to be higher. Within the final three video games, Tatum has averaged 37 factors and 9.3 rebounds. Setting an early tone for the Celtics, he scored 18 factors within the first half to offer the Celtics a 10-point halftime lead.
The massive photographs within the fourth quarter, during which Tatum scored 16, have been much more useful. It was precisely the sort of effort a celebrity delivers in elimination video games.
“That is why he will get paid the massive bucks for moments like that,” stated Marcus Good, who scored 21 factors. “I used to be telling him the entire sport ‘simply be you, man.’ He was.”
Antetokounmpo, taking part in with out the injured Khris Middleton, has ratcheted up his already unfathomable manufacturing. He is averaging 35.3 factors, 13.8 rebounds, and 6.8 assists within the collection. On Friday evening he went 14-of-15 on the foul line. And his workforce misplaced the sport.
Tatum and Antetokounmpo, although each blessed with the basketball trinity of peak, versatility and ability, are fairly completely different gamers. Antetokounmpo grew up admiring Magic Johnson and Kevin Garnett. Tatum grew up idolizing Kobe Bryant. You possibly can see it of their video games. It isn’t probably the most pure matchup.
However that does not matter. There is no solution to watch what they’ve carried out over the previous two weeks and never need to see extra.
Making proclamations and predictions as to what number of occasions this duo would possibly do that once more is foolhardy. Nothing is assured. However Antetokounmpo is 27, Tatum 24.
They are going to play as soon as extra this 12 months and the winner goes to really feel like he is gained a prize struggle and the loser goes to be devastated — and lay in wait for an additional probability. What extra can a basketball fan ask for?
“I used to be excited to play Recreation 6,” Tatum stated. “This was a giant second for myself and the workforce. We believed, we really believed, we may are available in right here and win and it confirmed.”