Bucks

Bucks Reaffirm Standing in Ring-Night Rout

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Any fan of the classic Brothers Grimm stories knows that not every fairy tale has a happy ending.

As seen by Kevin Durant‘s first game as a Warrior — a colossal 100-129 loss — the first chapter doesn’t always inspire either. However, Giannis Antetokounmpo and his retooled Bucks convincingly dissuaded doubters on ring night.

So while TNT’s top men disappointingly headed to Los Angeles, Adam Silver knew Titletown’s true home: our hometown Milwaukee.

Awed

The Bucks began their repeat quest by respecting the past, actualizing their marketing slogan.

True, some fans criticize former owner Herb Kohl for questionable eighth-or-bust strategies. But this commentary misses the point by a full court. Kohl kept the team in Wisconsin, to begin with, when he bought the Bucks in 1985 and insisted the new owners keep the Deer in Milwaukee. The retired senator may no longer have much youthful energy, but his broad smile enlightened a buzzing stadium.

Up next was Bobby Portis. Although unable to play, his Milwaukeean pride exceeded the length of his widest stare.

Khris Middleton wrapped up the pregame excitement with a brief message and counted off the final five anticipation seconds.

Then, finally, the Bucks made their feat official: enshrined forever in the Fiserv rafters as 2021 NBA champions.

All fun and well. Wait, what about the game? Are the Bucks going to rest on their accomplishment and cash endorsement checks? Hell no, and readers can take that to their local BMO bank.

“Challenger”?

The Nets, yes, were without Kyrie Irving due to an ongoing disagreement about coronavirus vaccines. But considering how heartbreakingly close Brooklyn came to defeating Milwaukee last season, one could presume they’d be crouching intently in the race for the top seed.

The Nets couldn’t even get past the first hurdle.

After Nic Claxton hit two free throws to start the Bucks’ second title defense (there’s a fun trivia answer in 2041), Giannis added a bit of do-it-yourself finesse to his soccer and basketball skills.

While Giannis’s block of Deandre Ayton saved the season in July, it happened so quickly that fans had trouble appreciating it live. But no worries; the Freak believes in replays.

If the Bucks had a tweet for every Giannis highlight, surely they would crash Twitter’s servers. But please note: the Greek had plenty of help. Not even Michael Jordan could win on his own; however insanely talented, no player can win one on five. Thankfully, Jordan Nwora contributed 26 outstanding minutes, including an epic block of KD.

Meanwhile, Grayson Allen refreshingly belonged on the biggest stage. Allen played intelligently while providing ten points and 27 minutes, and hopefully, Wisconsin fans can accept his contributions as penance for past heartbreak.

Apart from a brief second-quarter run, the game wasn’t much of a competition. Milwaukee improved to 1-0, and while many dismiss regular-season importance, Bucks Radio’s Greg Matzek put it best: “a win always beats the alternative.” Eventually, though, ushers escorted the last afterglow-basking fans to the exits.

The Deer head to Miami next in their push for a top-six play-in-skipping seed, but their latest triumph deserves a moment’s more reflection.

The Next Bend

In Herman Hesse’s classic Siddhartha, the title hero discovers serenity by meditating at a river that symbolizes time’s flatness. Is NBA basketball too coarse for such insights? Think again.

Remember, always, that according to gameday host Melanie Ricks, “when you’re a fan, you’re family.” We can only imagine what floated through Giannis’s head as he prepared for the opening tip. 26 years and two MVPs behind him; a passionate basketball and fan family around him; an unknowable career journey ahead.

Past, present and future Milwaukee basketball converged as the Freak’s river of Ka ran through Fiserv Forum for another memorable win.

Follow us on Twitter @BucksLead for the latest Bucks news and insight. 

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About Jeffrey Newholm

"Jammin Jeff" Newholm had been a basketball fanatic since his high school days, and remained a casual fan as a student in Whitewater. Wishing to check in as an active participant, he also completed a writing certificate program at UWM. He loves seeing Bucks games more than any other activity in hometown Milwaukee and especially screaming really really loudly to get someone to miss a free throw. Twitter: @JeffreyNewholm

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