With 1:15 left in the fourth quarter of Game 4 of the NBA Finals, DeAndre Ayton maneuver his way into the paint and was fed a lob by Devin Booker for an alley-oop.
The resulting play, a masterclass of grit, pure athleticism, and an undying will to win, sent ripples through the NBA world.
Giannis Antetokoumpo, Milwaukee’s affable superstar, went from guarding Booker to almost instantaneously turning 180 degrees before springing into the air and blocking Ayton’s shot before he even had a chance to make contact with the rim. This block was the catalyzing factor in a late 7-0 run for the Bucks, who clawed back to win the game 109-101 after trailing for much of the four quarters.
One of the most fluid and forceful defensive plays in NBA Finals history, this impressive moment is already being immortalized as “The Giannis Block.”
CLUTCH BLOCK BY GIANNIS 😱 pic.twitter.com/jwB0b75o65— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 15, 2021
It immediately garnered the attention and praise from players around the league, who took to social media to express just how unfathomably clutch and impressive Giannis’s block was.
“That block by Giannis might have won them the game,” tweeted All-NBA point guard Damian Lillard.
That block by Giannis might have won them the game— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) July 15, 2021
Those in the game itself also expressed amazement at Giannis’ play. Following the game, Bucks guard Pat Connaughton was asked about the block, which he called “the best block of all time.”
When asked himself about the play, Giannis’ first remark was not one of total self-assurance. he, instead, was forthcoming about what he thought was going to happen.
“I thought I was going to get dunked on, to be honest with you,” he told the media.
Luckily enough for the Bucks, he wasn’t, and now Milwaulkee has a serious and tangible chance to become the next NBA Champions.