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Mon, Sept. 27

Holbrook celebrates Budenholzer and Bucks' NBA win

Mike Budenholzer led the Bucks to the 2021 NBA title. (Photo/Associate Press)

Mike Budenholzer led the Bucks to the 2021 NBA title. (Photo/Associate Press)

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Because of coach Mike Budenholzer, many in the community of Holbrook, Arizona celebrated the Milwaukee Bucks NBA championship win despite beating the home state Phoenix Suns.

Milwaukee took the 105-98 victory over the Suns in Game 6 of the Finals, giving the Bucks their second championship - and first in 50 years.

Mike and the entire Budenholzer family are well known in the Holbrook basketball community.

One of seven children in the Budenholzer family, Mike graduated from Holbrook High School in 1988.

His father, Vince Budenholzer taught and coached at Holbrook High School for 25 years, and led Holbrook to the 1971 state championship. He was voted into the Arizona Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

The Buck's Giannis Antetokounmpo ended one of the greatest NBA Finals ever with 50 points, 14 rebounds and five blocked shots as the Bucks beat the Phoenix Suns 105-98 on July 20 night to win an entertaining series 4-2 and cap off a joyous return to a fan-filled postseason after last year’s NBA bubble.

It was the third game this series with at least 40 points and 10 rebounds for Antetokounmpo, a dominant debut finals performance that takes its place among some of the game’s greatest. In a season played largely without fans, the Bucks had 65,000 of them packed into the Deer District outside, a wild party that figured to last deep into the Midwestern night.

Chris Paul scored 26 points to end his first NBA Finals appearance in his 16th season. Devin Booker added 19 points but shot just 8 for 22 and missed all seven 3-pointers after scoring 40 points in each of the last two games.

“There’s just a pain that goes with your season being over,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “But I’ve never dealt with this and so I’m grateful, like I said, but I know this is going to hurt for a while.”

The Bucks won them largely because of Antetokounmpo, a two-time MVP in the regular season who raised his game even higher in the finals and was voted the unanimous NBA Finals MVP.

He was the star of these finals in every way, from his powerful play on the court to his humble thoughts in interviews.

Khris Middleton scored 17 points and Bobby Portis came off the bench with 16. Holiday had 12 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds to go along with his usual sturdy defense that helped finally cool off Booker.

“I think it’s just a credit to the players,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “We’ve been pushing. We’ve been trying to get better. The players embrace everything. They’re amazingly coachable. They take it, soak it in and make the best of it.”

Williams News Associated Editor Wendy Howell contributed to this story.

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