Sports Milwaukee Bucks' fans celebrate NBA championship with parade
Bucks' Antetokounmpo has been dominant, now he needs help
PHOENIX (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo and his bum left knee bulldozed through the Phoenix Suns defense for most of Thursday night, once again giving the Milwaukee Bucks more than they could have dreamed in these NBA Finals. The problem for Milwaukee is he's not getting enough help. Antetokounmpo finished with 42 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks but couldn't push the Bucks past the Suns, who took a 2-0 series with their 118-108 win. The one-man gutsy show was impressive, but ultimately for naught. “When he’s got it rolling like that and he sees a crowd, we’ve got to be able to help him out," Bucks forward Khris Middleton said.
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Thousands of fans lined downtown Milwaukee streets on Thursday to catch a glimpse of their beloved Bucks in a parade to celebrate the city’s first NBA championship in half a century.
Six police officers on horseback clopped past cheering fans at the head of a procession that included a hook-and-ladder fire truck, occasionally blaring its horn, and open-air buses and flatbed trucks carrying Bucks stars includingand Jrue Holiday, as well as the trophy they captured .
Fans could be heard chanting, “Bucks in 6," an odd but popular rallying cry with roots in a former Bucks player's fruitless prediction in 2013 that the team would take down the playoffs' top seed at the time.
Ayton's foul trouble limits Suns in Game 3 loss vs Bucks
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Deandre Ayton got off to a quick start Sunday night then couldn’t do anything but watch as the Phoenix Suns were unable to take a stranglehold on the NBA Finals. The 6-foot-11 center’s inability to avoid foul trouble contributed to the Suns’ losing 120-100 in Game 3 of the series. Phoenix also missed Devin Booker's scoring as the Suns guard also struggled and finished with just 10 points. Ayton’s absence, however, showed just how big his presence on the floor is for the Suns. He scored 16 points in the first 14 1/2 minutes of Game 3 but picked up his fourth foul with 10:25 left in the third quarter and sat out the rest of the period.
Antetokounmpo held his son, 1-year-old Liam, atop a bus as fans along the route chanted “MVP!” Later, he shot a basketball into the crowd.
“Milwaukee, we did it baby! We did it!” Antetokounmpo said to a cheering crowd in the Deer District, the area outside the Bucks' Fiserv Forum. “This is our city, this is our city, man, we did it! Unbelievable.”
Neil and Rachana Bhatia, both 34 and from suburban Waukesha, brought 1-month-old son Zain to the Deer District, saying they wanted to give Zain an early taste of being a Bucks fan.
Neil Bhatia called winning the title “surreal.”
“. It’s great for the city and the state. It’s just bringing everybody together to celebrate something that hasn’t happened in 50 years,” he said.
Giannis the Great: Bucks star making his mark in NBA Finals
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo shook his head, unwilling to place himself in the class of the only player with a longer streak of 40-point games in an NBA Finals. “I’m not Michael Jordan,” Antetokounmpo said. No, but he's exactly the player the Milwaukee Bucks need if they are going to win their first title in 50 years. They can tie the series against the Phoenix Suns in Game 4 on Wednesday. With 42 and 41 points in his last two games, Antetokounmpo has joined LeBron James, Shaquille O'Neal, Jerry West and Rick Barry as players to have two straight 40-point outings in the NBA Finals. That's halfway to Jordan, who did it four consecutive times in 1993 against Phoenix.
“The city has had its struggles. What I know is that it’s been a city that’s coming together,” said longtime Bucks fan Dameon Ellzey, 45, a Milwaukee native who lives near the arena and was stationed there to see the parade.
“In my neighborhood, you could hear everybody on their porches screaming,” Ellzey said. “Black, white, Asian. In a city like Milwaukee, that’s big.”
Milwaukee has long ranked among the most segregated cities in America. Team President Peter Feigin called it “the most segregated, racist place” he’d ever experienced, remarks he later softened. As the Bucks drove toward a championship this year, some people were cheered by the diversity of the massive crowds that gathered in the Deer District to watch the Bucks on big TV screens.
The team’s ascendance has invigorated a Midwestern city far from the league’s more cosmopolitan venues like Los Angeles, Boston or Miami — cities that have traditionally found it easier to attract the game's top players. One reason fans have embraced Antetokounmpo is his loyalty to the team that drafted him eight years ago when he was just 18.
Middleton sends Bucks past Suns to tie NBA Finals at 2-2
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Khris Middleton's big finish means these NBA Finals are just getting started. Middleton scored 40 points, including 10 straight for the Milwaukee Bucks down the stretch to send them past the Phoenix Suns, 109-103 on Wednesday night to tie the series 2-2. Middleton's hot hand and a big block from Giannis Antetokounmpo gave the Bucks their second straight victory in the first close game of the series. “We wanted this bad and the team showed it tonight,” Antetokounmpo said. Antetokounmpo had 26 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists. His streak of 40-point games ended at two but the only number that matters for the Bucks is on the series scoreboard.
"He recognizes the city and its quality and he resonates with it," Timothy Seymour, 20, said of Antetokounmpo. “He really reflects our work ethic. He works hard. And he reflects how we’re only going to get better.”
Police estimated 100,000 people jammed the Deer District for Tuesday night's Game 6. Though the coronavirus pandemic has lessened compared to a year ago, the level of cases in both Wisconsin and Milwaukee County still is rated by the state as high,.
City health officials noted Thursday that announcements of the parade had urged that unvaccinated people wear masks. Few were visible among fans on the parade route or later outside the arena. The city health department said their contact tracing team would closely monitor the event.
Julie Willems Van Dijk, deputy secretary of the state Department of Health Services, predicted the two large gatherings would lead to more COVID-19 cases.
“We are concerned,” she said. “We know people wanted to be jubilant and celebrate. But we know, half the state is fully vaccinated and half the state is not and I assume the same is true for people in the Deer District and the arena. And I didn’t see half the crowd masked.”
Associated Press writer Scott Bauer contributed from Madison, Wisconsin.
Gretchen Ehlke, The Associated Press
Milwaukee Bucks' fans celebrate NBA championship with parade .
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Thousands of fans lined downtown Milwaukee streets on Thursday to catch a glimpse of their beloved Bucks in a parade to celebrate the city’s first NBA championship in half a century. Six police officers on horseback clopped past cheering fans at the head of a procession that included a hook-and-ladder fire truck, occasionally blaring its horn, and open-air buses and flatbed trucks carrying Bucks stars including Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday, as well as the trophy they captured Tuesday night with a Game 6 victory over Phoenix.