They call him a Freak for a reason
If the Bucks go on to win the NBA Finals, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s stunning block in the final moments of Game 4 will be the defining play of the series.
With 1:15 left in the fourth quarter, with the Bucks up 101–99 over the Suns, Giannis went to double Devin Booker as he drove down the lane, leaving Deandre Ayton wide open behind him. Booker threw an alley-oop pass to Ayton and Giannis, who had one foot on the free throw line when Booker released the ball, took two giant steps and met Ayton high above the rim for the block.
It was the kind of play that should be savored over and over again, but because of the frantic pace of the end of the game, ESPN couldn’t find time to cut away to any replays. Fortunately, the NBA posted a video early Thursday morning showing every angle of the block.
Seeing alternate angles of the play doesn’t really make it more impressive—it was outrageous enough to begin with—but each one does reveal something different. I think my favorite might be the view from above the backboard, because it puts into perspective how much ground Giannis covered. I also like the angle from the sideline opposite the main broadcast camera, where you can see Giannis’s face as he realizes Booker is about to throw a lob and immediately makes his move.
Giannis broke down the play in some detail during his postgame press conference.
“Just a hustle play,” he said modestly. “I thought I was going to get dunked on.”
But he also explained how he was able to react so quickly to Booker’s lob.
“[The pass] didn’t surprise me,” he said. “I saw it coming. Once I saw [Booker] put it in his one hand, he was too far for a layup, so I knew he was throwing a lob. And I committed so much—you have an instinct; you kind of feel it. I felt [Ayton] rolling to get in behind me and I knew the only chance to get a stop was to just jump toward the rim and try to cover that angle for him to score.”
He makes it sound so easy, but he’s probably the only player in the NBA capable of getting into position to make that play.
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