The 2020-21 NBA season gave a storybook ending for Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. But in an alternate universe, the Brooklyn Nets might have changed the narrative.
The Nets were famously just a Kevin Durant shoe size away from beating the Bucks in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. The thought still wasn’t lost on their stars, including key big man Blake Griffin. The former All-Star spoke out to SNY about how the loss still stung for them months later.
“When that series started, in my mind that was a good look at who was going to be in the Finals and possibly win,” said the Nets big man. “It was kind of weird watching us take it to seven games and being banged up. After that, they didn’t necessarily handle everybody easily but they won in six games, six games. Giannis got hurt in the next series and won in six games, then ran four straight against the Suns.”
Even if you’re a firm believer in Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks, it’s hard to argue against what Griffin was feeling. The Nets were right there against a Bucks team that was nearly at full strength while dealing with injuries to their own key stars. That series quite literally determined who would raise the Larry O’Brien trophy at the season’s end.
Blake Griffin talks about watching the Bucks win the NBA title after taking them to 7 games in the Eastern Conference Semis
"It's just more motivation to come back and be more focused, pay more attention to detail, and get another crack at it" pic.twitter.com/FspuS6ers2
— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) August 12, 2021
“You always kind of sit there and think like ‘Man, if we just did this’ one extra thing. You get to the playoffs and you get the third seed over the two seed and you’re like ‘Man, if we had just beaten this team’.”
The NBA is a zero-sum game in a lot of ways. Despite all the great storylines and terrific seasons from franchises across the league, with some career-defining performances from stars in the postseason, there can only be one winner. Last season, it was Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. Best believe the Nets are champing at the bit to get another shot at dictating the story.