Giannis Antetokounmpo has never been more dominant than these NBA Finals

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JULY 11: (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JULY 11: (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

When the Milwaukee Bucks have needed it most over their historic playoff run this year, Giannis Antetokounmpo has been there.

Sunday night was no exception as the Bucks stopped the bleeding by taking a 120-100 victory in Game 3 over the Phoenix Suns in this year’s NBA Finals at Fiserv Forum, giving Milwaukee their first Finals win in more than 47 years.

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Just as he has increasingly been this series, Antetokounmpo was at the center of the Bucks’ dominant and resounding victory as he finished with 41 points on 23 shots (0-for-2 from three, 13-for-17 from the free throw line), 13 boards, six assists and a steal in more than 37-and-a-half minutes of burn.

Breaking it down even further, 28 of Antetokounmpo’s 41 points came in the paint and he had a season-high 12 second chance points as well. Along with that, he was a perfect 13-for-13 when scoring in the restricted area, per

Despite the deficit the Bucks fell into going into Game 3, this series has shown the Suns have little to no answers for Antetokounmpo.

That was certainly exacerbated by Deandre Ayton’s foul trouble last night and the Bucks outscored the Suns by 14 points in the 24 minutes he was off the floor in Game 3. And it was in those moments where Antetokounmpo feasted as evidenced by this second chance and-1 late in the third quarter that came when the Suns were playing their super small-ball lineup.

Over this series, the Bucks have outscored the Suns by 21 points in the 27 minutes Antetokounmpo has been on the court without Ayton. And Antetokounmpo has scored 28 total points, 18 of which have come in the paint, on 9-for-15 shooting (0-for-1 from deep, 10-for-12 from the free throw line), along with a pair of assists.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has put on a show in these NBA Finals

With Ayton being the lone big man the Suns have to protect the rim from a barrage of drives and dunks from Antetokounmpo, the two-time MVP has been never more unstoppable and inevitable.

Putting up back to-back 40-point games in the Finals, a feat that hasn’t been done since Shaquille O’Neal, only reinforces just how special and great Antetokounmpo has been in his first trip to the NBA Finals. And to think Antetokounmpo is nearly two weeks removed from a horrendous hyperextension that certainly spelled the end of his and the Bucks’ season.

Neither have come yet and despite plenty of paranoia and nervousness that all Bucks fans have held in watching Antetokounmpo play heavy minutes again, he hasn’t been slowed down in the slightest physically.

For all of the talk and criticism that has surrounded Antetokounmpo and the Bucks for the last couple of year that has bordered on vapid, nights like the one Antetokounmpo had in Game 3 silences the critics for now. Meanwhile, Antetokounmpo is taking things at a time, whether it be a game or possessions, just as he discussed with ESPN’s Tim Bontemps after his mammoth performance last night:

"“I just read each possession at a time,” Antetokounmpo said. “Sometimes, I’m going to be aggressive for two minutes straight. Sometimes, I’m not. Because the ball is not in my hands because Khris [Middleton] is being aggressive at that time or Jrue.“Each possession, each time of the game, it’s different. I’m not planning what I do. I’m just trying to be out there, trying to take it a possession at a time, try to enjoy the game, try to make the right play.”"

Next. Takeaways from thrilling Game 3 win over Phoenix Suns. dark

Now, with a little bit more wind in their sails, the Bucks will be keen on erasing their 2-0 deficit by looking to even up this series in Game 4 Wednesday night. They’ll do so knowing that Antetokounmpo is getting ready to do it all over again and hopefully flip this series on its head.