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Is Tonight The Night The Milwaukee Bucks End 50-Year Championship Drought?

Deer District
Patrick McDermott
Basketball fans arrive before Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Atlanta Hawks at Fiserv Forum on July 01, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Tuesday night, the Milwaukee Bucks could bring the city its first NBA Championship in 50 years. Or the Bucks could lose Game 6 of the NBA Finals and send the series back to Phoenix for Game 7 Thursday night.

Either way, the Bucks said they're preparing for even larger crowds downtown Tuesday. The team said it's moving the Deer District plaza to the McKinley Avenue area north of the Fiserv Forum, between Vel R. Phillips Avenue and Fifth Street. That includes the main stage and video screen. The Bucks said there's room for up to 65,000 people, instead of the 20,000 or so the team said have crowded into plazas on the east and south sides of the forum.

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Marti Mikkelson
The new Deer District site at sunset Monday.

The team said there's been growing demand.

Somewhere around 16,000 people will be inside the Fiserv Forum, even with prices soaring to more than $1,000 just for standing room only tickets.

Meanwhile, Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo said he's happy the Milwaukee fans are enjoying the Finals but says the team needs to focus on Game 6.

"We've gotta do our job, and then they can do their job celebrating in the end. But we gotta do our job first, and gotta be in the present as much as possible," Antetokounmpo told the news media Monday.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo smiles while speaking to the news media Monday afternoon.

And that's because the Phoenix Suns sound determined to prevent any celebration. Suns coach Monty Williams said his team's late comeback in Game 5 of the series Saturday night — a comeback that fell just short — showed his players have a lot of resilience.

"A no-quit attitude, even in those moments, for us to be able to cut it to one point. That was one thing that stuck out to me and gives our staff and team a lot of confidence as we go into this Game 6," Williams said.

It's unclear how all those fans gathered downtown would react to a Bucks win or to a loss. The Milwaukee Police Department said it's working with the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office, Milwaukee Fire Department and other agencies to provide a safe and secure Deer District.

Police said they will have additional resources available and that criminal activity will not be tolerated.

Chuck Quirmbach joined WUWM in August 2018. He focuses his longform stories on health, innovation, science, technology, transportation, utilities and business.
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