Here was the environment friendly, dominant and classic Giannis Antetokounmpo.
“The Greek Freak” made a bunch of spotlight plays befitting his stature as arguably the sport’s most gifted participant. The 6-foot-11 flying machine soared to the rim for dunks and slammed dwelling a handful of lobs on the best way to 34 factors on 14-of-26 capturing Sunday because the Bucks toppled the Nets 107-96 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
He attacked the rim in transition and didn’t accept his wayward 3-point shot. (He made his first one earlier than clanking his subsequent 4.)
In his spotlight second, Antetokounmpo reduce baseline and obtained a bounce move from Jrue Holiday. Antetokounmpo rose and dunked on Blake Griffin, flexing his muscle mass to the gang.
But with all that, the sport’s greatest play he was concerned in got here when Antetokounmpo moved towards Kyrie Irving because the Nets guard was already in the air, laying the ball in.
Irving landed on Antetokounmpo’s foot, his ankle twisting horrifically. Irving fell to the ground, grimaced and pounded the hardwood. Antetokounmpo, in the meantime, ran up-court with play persevering with earlier than the whistle blew and Irving left the sport for good. Reportedly in a strolling boot after the sport, Irving’s return to the sequence is in doubt.
Antetokounmpo was not referred to as for a foul, however ABC’s Jalen Rose stated the NBA ought to give him a flagrant foul retroactively for not shifting out from beneath Irving — a cardinal NBA sin.
If Irving is out the remainder of the sequence and the Bucks win, his injury will stand as a history-changing second. Antetokounmpo was concerned in one other history-altering occasion in New York basketball in 2018, when Kristaps Porzingis dunked over Antetokounmpo and landed awkwardly, tearing his ACL and by no means taking part in one other recreation for the Knicks.
Because a fire alarm went off at Fiserv Forum following the competition, the Bucks famous person was not made accessible for touch upon Zoom.
In his interview with ABC after the sport, Antetokounmpo stated of the play: “I don’t know — I thought he got hit in the groin at first. He went back to the locker room. They said it was a sprained ankle. I hope he’ll be back for Game 5, but we got to keep focusing on ourselves.”
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer stated he didn’t find out about how Irving obtained damage.
“I’ve not seen the movie,’’ he stated. “I do not know what occurred on Kyrie’s injury. I feel I do know it’s a twisted ankle.’’
Asked if he thought Antetokounmpo undercut Irving, Nets heart Jeff Green stated, “I’m not gonna sit right here and say he did [that] no matter occurred, it occurred on objective. I feel it’s simply one thing that occurs all through basketball.’’
If Antetokounmpo nonetheless has the surface capturing yips, it wasn’t as egregious Sunday. That’s as a result of he shot much less from past the 3-point stripe. He went 1-for-5 from 3 after going 1-for-8 on Friday to proceed his disastrous 3-point capturing in these playoffs.
He’s capturing 13 % from past the arc in the playoffs after going 30 % in the common season.
“Giannis set the tone,’’ Budenholzer stated. “Giannis had two good video games since we obtained dwelling. I feel his taking part in the ball motion, both initiating or ending it, he’s simply obtained to proceed to make good selections.’’
He mustered three assists Sunday, however may had extra as he typically flew down the lane and made a again move to provoke open photographs for others.
“Giannis is Giannis,’’ Bucks swingman Pat Connaughton stated. “I can say, ‘Beast.’ I can say, ‘MVP.’ I can say a number of issues. But he’s Giannis. As his data has continued to develop the previous few years, what I’ve seen there’s a number of methods he can get to the basket and understanding how defenses have performed him is the best step ahead I’ve seen him take. A number of occasions he made the best move and we didn’t knock down photographs for him.’’
Antetokounmpo was a catastrophe in Game 2, scoring 18 factors and never making a shot exterior the paint. In Game 3, he improved to 33 factors, however was a hideous 1-for-8 from 3-point vary and couldn’t knock down free throws (4-for-9), capturing an airball and being flagged for a 10-second violation from the road.
On Sunday, he launched extra rapidly on his free throws however nonetheless didn’t make sufficient, going 5-for-10. He’s nonetheless not out of the woods. Now determined and depleted, the Nets haven’t employed a technique to ship Antetokounmpo to line extra. Not but.