Despite holding a 2-0 lead to open the NBA Finals, former Kentucky standout Devin Booker will not earn his first championship ring this time around, as the Milwaukee Bucks cruised back to win four consecutive matchups to take home the 2021 title on Tuesday.
Booker finished with 19 points in the Game 6 loss, shooting 8-22 from the field and 0-7 from three in a team-high 46 minutes. He also added five assists and three rebounds, but ended the game with six turnovers. It was just the sixth time this postseason the former UK guard failed to break the 20-point mark and second instance during the Finals.
On the winning side, Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 50 points on 16-25 shooting and 17-19 from the free throw line to go with 14 rebounds, five blocks and two assists in the 105-98 victory. The Greek Freak earned NBA Finals MVP honors after averaging 35.2 points, 13.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game while shooting 61.8% from the field, the first player in league history to hit those marks in the Finals.
It was a disappointing finish for Booker after solidifying himself as a surefire superstar in the league this season, but he won’t be down long.
“Experience is the best teacher,” Booker said after the loss. “All of our games have gotten better and we each understand how important each possession is now. This feeling, I keep talking about the hurt, you don’t want this. This is what you strive for and what you go into the summer with, you take it and use it as fuel.”
Back and better than ever next season.
Keaton Upshaw to miss extended time with an injury
The Kentucky football program was unable to get out of the summer without a significant injury, as word leaked out early Tuesday morning that tight end Keaton Upshaw had suffered a torn pectoral muscle during workouts. Mark Stoops later confirmed that the redshirt junior may be out the entire 2021 season.
“It’s hard to keep news from traveling very, very fast these days, but that’s accurate,” Stoops said of the injury. “He has an injury and we will assess it. Traditionally speaking that is a season-ending injury, but we will see and we need to confirm that. I don’t have any other news other than that at this point. Saw him this morning, feel terrible for him. I know he’s very down. He has had a remarkable summer and really has been on point, working extremely hard. Just very disappointing.”
Who will step up in Upshaw’s absence this season?
“We’ve got Brendan Bates and Justin Rigg, who have had a ton of experience and both extremely good players,” Stoops added. “We like having a lot of tight ends.”
Stoops, Paschal and Kinnard speak at SEC Media Days 2021
Speaking of Stoops, the UK head coach spoke with the media for the first time at SEC Media Days alongside Josh Paschal and Darian Kinnard on Tuesday.
In case you missed the clips on the site yesterday, you can find them below:
SEC Media Days 2021 continues
Just because Kentucky’s time in Hoover has come to a close doesn’t mean coverage is slowing down anytime soon. KSR’s own Nick Roush and Adam Luckett are ready to roll in person for Wednesday’s slate of very important guests, headlined by none other than Alabama’s Nick Saban.
Alabama will get things rolling on Wednesday, followed by Vanderbilt, Texas A&M and Mississippi State to close out the afternoon. Stay tuned for plenty of coverage throughout the day.
Oats Strong shirts are on the way
Need another example as to why the name, image and likeness era is a massive win for the student-athlete and a positive for college sports? Look no further than Chris Oats’ family, who is in the process of selling Oats Strong t-shirts to raise money for medical expenses and rehab costs for the Kentucky linebacker.
Oats’ family shared images of the shirts they plan to release to the public “soon,” featuring blue, white and gray options:
OK BBN here are the shirts will let you know where you can get them soon # Thankyouall # LOVINGBBNNATIONS#22 pic.twitter.com/u1Cqth43Iu
— Kcoats22 (@kcoats22) July 20, 2021
Oats’ family has been sharing updates on his status and steady improvement over the course of the last year, most recently showing off the UK linebacker’s time in the pool “having the time of his life.”
Look who having the time of his life # tryingtogetback#oatsstrong#22#BBN pic.twitter.com/7Tn4qOIOSU
— Kcoats22 (@kcoats22) July 14, 2021
Keep on improving, 22.
KSR in an hour
Matt Jones and the gang will be back from 10 a.m. to noon. Be sure to tune in.