Jrue Holiday and Giannis Antetokounmpo combined for a game-sealing play to win Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Saturday night in Phoenix, Ariz.
The Milwaukee Bucks were leading 120-119 with under 20 seconds left in the game. Devin Booker had the ball for the Suns and drove to the basket. He got tied up and was stripped of the ball by Holiday. Not only did Holiday get the steal, but he dribbled down the court and then threw a perfect pass to Giannis for an alley-oop:
What a play by both of them.
Antetokounmpo was fouled by Chris Paul on the alley-oop and attempted a free throw but missed. Milwaukee got an offensive rebound and was fouled again. Khris Middleton went 1-for-2 at the line, giving the Bucks a 123-119 lead, which was the final.
Milwaukee is now up 3-2 in the series. This was the second time in a row that the Bucks sealed a win with a great defensive play at the end.
Devin Booker gave Giannis Antetokounmpo a big staredown after dunking on him during Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Saturday. Unfortunately for Booker, his dunk didn’t actually count.
The Phoenix Suns were leading the Milwaukee Bucks midway through the first quarter of Game 5. Khris Middleton had the ball stolen from him by Mikal Bridges, who passed ahead to Booker. A whistle was blown to indicate a foul call, but Booker went up for a dunk attempt anyway. Antetokounmpo’s foul still did not prevent the dunk.
Booker did not appreciate the foul and stared down Antetokounmpo afterwards as a flex move.
The officials reviewed the play and determined PJ Tucker fouled Bridges before the pass. Nothing was assessed to Antetokounmpo.
What was wild was how loud the atmosphere was. Neither Booker nor Antetokounmpo seemed to hear the whistle and both went hard on the play.
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s block on Deandre Ayton in Game 4 of the NBA Finals is the sort of play that will become legendary if the Milwaukee Bucks end up winning the series. You might expect Giannis to revel in that moment, but if you did, you’d be incorrect.
On Friday, Antetokounmpo admitted he’d only seen video of his block for the first time in a team film session. The Bucks star also gave an awesome explanation as to why he hadn’t seen it sooner.
Even with that level of modesty, it’s kind of surprising Giannis didn’t see the play any sooner. It was, after all, one of the biggest and most memorable of the game.
Still, it’s an attitude that should serve Giannis well. It’s driven him to consistently improve despite already being one of the best players in the world. Plus, the guy’s got a sense of humor, too. It’s easy to see why the Bucks love him so much — beyond his talent, of course.
Giannis Antetokounmpo logged his highest minute total in nearly a month in the Milwaukee Bucks’ Game 4 win over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night. The only time he really came off the floor was early in the first quarter, which also happened in Game 3. According to Giannis, that was when nature called.
Antetokounmpo was asked after Game 4 about missing time early in the first quarter. He hilariously explained that he had to “tinkle.”
Giannis is coming off a knee injury, so some have wondered if his early rest in games has been an indication that the knee is bothering him. If that is the case, his stats don’t reflect it. Antetokounmpo has averaged 32.3 points and 14 rebounds in four NBA Finals games thus far. He has also played an average of 39 minutes per game.
The Bucks have now evened the NBA Finals at 2-2 after losing the first two games. One of the biggest plays Giannis made in Game 4 came on defense with this massive blocked shot.
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s defense has been picked on at times during the NBA playoffs, but he came up with a huge play at the right time on Wednesday night.
Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks had just taken a 101-99 lead in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on a jumper by Khris Middleton. The Phoenix Suns came back down, and Devin Booker tried to toss an alley-oop to Deandre Ayton. The shot could have tied the game, but Giannis skied to break up the exchange with a block.
The block was recognized as a huge play in the game. Even though Milwaukee was unable to score on its next possession, they seized control thereafter and won 109-103.
Pat Connaughton’s 3-pointer to give Milwaukee the lead with three minutes left was a game-changer. Giannis’ block sealed it. Those criticisms about his defense now seem so distant.
Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams was not pleased with the officiating in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, but Giannis Antetokounmpo says he has the marks to prove he deserved every foul call he got.
After his team’s 120-100 loss on Sunday night, Williams mentioned how the Suns shot 16 free throws total and “one guy” on the Milwaukee Bucks shot 17. That guy was Giannis. When asked on Tuesday about Williams’ criticism of the officiating, Antetokounmpo implied that the whistles stem from how aggressive Phoenix players have been with him.
“I don’t follow quotes after the games from coaches. But I think I take a pretty good beating out there,” Giannis said, via USA Today’s Mark Medina. “I have a scratch here and a scratch there. They’re making my pretty face ugly.”
Giannis has been struggling with his free throw shooting in the postseason, so putting him at the line isn’t a bad strategy. Though, most of his problems seem to stem from being heckled on the road.
Many people felt the Suns were destined to lose Game 3, and a lot of that had to do with who the head referee was. Giannis is the type of player who will always draw plenty of foul calls, but Williams obviously wants to see his team at the line more in Game 4.
The opportunity to play with Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the main reasons Bobby Portis signed with the Milwaukee Bucks last offseason, but the big man isn’t quite ready to think about how he might describe “The Greek Freak” to his kids.
Portis scored 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds in Milwaukee’s win over the Phoenix Suns in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night. Antetokounmpo, who returned from a knee injury not too long ago, scored a game-high 41 points. After the game, a reporter asked Portis how he will look back in 30 years on what Giannis is accomplishing right now. Portis had a hilarious reaction.
Portis is 26, and he joked that he isn’t quite ready to start thinking about himself at age 56.
“30 years? I’m 26 now, I’d be 56. I ain’t even trying to think about 56, I ain’t gonna lie,” Portis said. “I’m just saying, I’m 26. Damn, what ya’ll trying to put 30 on me already?”
Of course, Portis went on to praise Giannis for his incredible skill and leadership.
Portis has played a key role for the Bucks this season, and they’ll need him to continue to contribute in the NBA Finals. Perhaps he would be more comfortable waiting until after the series to reflect.
If Kendrick Perkins is looking to go viral for making absolutely ridiculous comments, he is succeeding.
Perkins, a former NBA center who is now an analyst for ESPN, has been critical of Giannis Antetokounmpo. He described Giannis as more of a “Robin” with Khris Middleton operating as the “Batman” for the Milwaukee Bucks this postseason. Perkins says that Antetokounmpo has lacked a “Batman” mentality, meaning he is not trying to take over and dominate. Instead, he believes Giannis has been content letting Middleton take over.
The comments are silly.
Giannis is an awesome player, but nobody can carry a team by themselves. Kobe needed Shaq and then Pau Gasol to win. LeBron James needed multiple All-Stars surrounding him in Miami, Cleveland and LA to win. Michael Jordan had Scottie Pippen. So ripping someone for entrusting a talented teammate is silly. The comment looks even worse when Giannis, a week after suffering a knee injury, scores over 40 points in consecutive games during the NBA Finals.
Giannis’ Milwaukee Bucks beat the Phoenix Suns 120-100 in Game 3 on Sunday night, completely reshaping the way the NBA Finals now look. And Perkins was actually complimentary of Antetokounmpo after the game.
But now you can understand why another NBA player has called Perkins a “clown.”
Jae Crowder had a funny answer to a question about Giannis Antetokounmpo on Thursday.
Crowder’s Phoenix Suns beat Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks 118-108 in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. They got the win despite Giannis scoring 42 points with 12 rebounds.
Crowder was asked a somewhat odd question after the game. He was asked what more the Bucks can do if they lose even when Giannis scores so many points. He said he wasn’t looking to give them advice because he’s trying to beat them.
Well, duh. He wasn’t the best person to ask that question to.
As for the Bucks, it doesn’t help that Antetokounmpo only went 11-for-18 on free throws. Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday shooting a combined 12-for-37 (32.4 percent) didn’t help either. Maybe getting more from them and better free throw shooting is all they need.
Heading to Milwaukee for Games 3 and 4 should make a big difference.
Are we really sure that Giannis Antetokounmpo has a knee injury? Because it sure was hard to tell based on some of the plays he made in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night.
Antetokounmpo was listed as doubtful for Game 1 due to his knee, and then he was termed a game-time decision. He was ultimately cleared to play in the game. Antetokounmpo was impressively able to play just a week after hyperextending his knee in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Hawks. Antetokounmpo missed Games 5 and 6 of that series but ended up playing in Game 1, and he looked pretty good.
Take a look at this incredible chasedown block he had before halftime:
What a play!
To be clear, my headline and intro sentence are sarcastic. I am not in the least bit questioning the severity of the injury; I’m trying to heighten the sense of how athletic Giannis looks, which is an incredible tribute to his medical recovery and the Milwaukee Bucks’ medical team.