At the end of last week, the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals to win their third championship in four years. The series featured a lot of physicality, and had a number of violent plays that could have resulted in serious injury to both players and fans. Even though the Cavaliers won the series, it was not without controversy. Some thought LeBron James should have been ejected at the end of game 6, while others thought the NBA erred in giving him a flagrant foul and ejection.
The sports world is full of scapegoats. When a team doesn’t win as expected, it’s usually because of a star player who has a bad game. When the team does finally win, it’s because that star player played his best. When that star player gets injured, the team doesn’t do well. And vice versa.Giannis Antokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks were the targets of jokes on Twitter recently when they squandered a 17-point lead against the Brooklyn Nets in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Can they come back and not only win this series, but maybe the NBA championship? The former Bucks superstar recently responded when asked if he thought this team could win the title: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won the championship with the Bucks
. Of course, everyone knows Abdul-Jabbar from winning five championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and becoming one of the greatest players of all time when he played for that team. But before he became a star in Los Angeles, Abdul-Jabbar was a dominant force on the Bucks team. The Bucks selected Abdul-Jabbar first in the 1969 NBA Draft, and he was unstoppable from the start, making it to the All-Star list in each of his six seasons with the team. In his second year, Abdul-Jabbar led the league with 31.7 points per game, and in his third season in 1971-72, he averaged 34.8 points per game. Abdul-Jabbar won three of his six NBA MVP awards in Milwaukee and averaged 30.4 points, 15.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists in his career. He also led the team to an NBA championship with Oscar Robertson in the 1970-71 season. The Bucks haven’t won a championship or reached the NBA Finals since Abdul-Jabbar led them there but lost in 1973-74. In total, Abdul-Jabbar has received 19 All-Star nominations and six NBA titles during his career. In games against the Bucks and Lakers, he averaged 24.6 points and 11.2 rebounds and scored a total of 38,387 points, the most in NBA history.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar doesn’t think the Bucks can win the title
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, left, and Giannis Antetokounmpo at the NBA Awards on the 24th. June 2019. | Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Turner Sports Abdul-Jabbar recently appeared on ESPN The Jump and talked about the current Bucks team hoping to finally return to the Finals. Giannis and those guys – I’ve been there and seen them play, it’s an incredible team, but I don’t know what’s going on, he said of the episode of 16. June. Sometimes you can’t get the right team together to go as far as you’d like. But they are still a great team, and they have the support of all the fans. You just have to find a better approach. Does Abdul-Jabbar think this Bucks team can win the title? No, I don’t, he said. KD would have killed those guys, man. No, I’m serious, because he was about to score and then he found [a pass], he found an open man. He can do it himself. They have to work better; the whole team has to play differently so that KD, one man, can’t dominate alone. Looking ahead, Abdul-Jabbar might be right, as Kevin Durant already dominated the Bucks in Game 5, so there’s a good chance he’ll do it again in Game 6 and/or Game 7.
Can the Bucs beat Kevin Durant and the Nets?
. The Bucks have a great chance to take advantage of a Nets team and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. But it remains to be seen whether they will be able to accomplish this feat. Giannis Antitokounmpo and the Bucks led by as many as 17 points in Game 5 of the Conference semifinals, but Durant scored 49 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and handed out 10 assists to help the Nets come back and win 114-108. The Nets now lead the series 3-2. The main conclusion of Game 5 is that it took Durant’s historic performance to beat the Nets. Kyrie Irving did not play, and James Harden, recovering from an injury, was not himself: He scored just five points and made just one of 10 shots from the field. It looks like it could happen in Game 6, as Irving will not play due to a sprained ankle and Harden will be available, ESPN reports. So can the Bucks win the title? It remains to be seen, but they can win this series if they don’t let Durant perform exceptionally well and if they don’t let a big lead slip away when it does. It seems simple enough, but the Bucks are the Bucks and Durant is a villain, so we’ll see what comes of it. Statistics provided by Basketball Reference COMPARED TO: Charles Barkley mocks Bucks after playoff loss against Nets I wouldn’t feed those guys on a plane
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