NBA

NBA Finals 2021: Giannis thought 'he was going to get dunked on' with Ayton block

By Sports Desk July 15, 2021

Giannis Antetokounmpo says he "thought he was going to get dunked on" for his remarkable last-quarter block to deny Deandre Ayton in Wednesday's Game 4 win for the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Bucks got home 109-103 over the Phoenix Suns, storming home down the stretch with a 33-21 final quarter after trailing by six points at three-quarter time.

Antetokounmpo, who had 26 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists, came up with a huge play with the Bucks 101-99 up with 1:15 to play, as Devin Booker tried to alley-oop Ayton, with the Greek forward recovering to leap up to block the center's attempt.

"Just hustle play. I thought I was going to get dunked on," Antetokounmpo said at the post-game news conference.

"Going down the stretch do whatever takes to win the game."

Antetokounmpo said he saw the play coming as Booker put the ball in his right hand, with Ayton looming in the paint behind him.

"I saw the play coming, so I was just going to jump vertical towards the rim and I was able to get a good block and get two points [down the other end]," he said.

"It doesn’t surprise me. I saw it coming. Once I saw him put it on his one hand, he was too far for a lay-up.

"You can feel it, I felt him rolling towards the rim behind me. I knew the only chance to get a stop was to jump towards the rim and cover that angle.

"I was late. If I was on the opposite side, it's a dunk."

Antetokounmpo's defensive contribution was significant but Khris Middleton finished with 40 points for the game, including 14 in the final quarter.

The 26-year-old Greek said he was "proud" of his team-mate for his ability to close the game out.

"We've done this a lot of times," Antetokounmpo said. "There's times going down the stretch, I've got to trust him and he's got to trust me.

"We've closed so many games. We've lost a lot of games but closing a game like this in the NBA Finals means a lot but we cannot be satisfied."

The series moves back to Arizona for Game 5 on Friday locked at 2-2, with both sides winning their games on their home courts.

Middleton added: "Whatever we're doing here, we've got to find a way to do it there. The only way we can win this series is to get one on the road. It'd be nice to get this next one but first we need to get some rest."

Related items

  • Physically, I feel good - Kawhi Leonard shares update as Clippers step up NBA season preparations Physically, I feel good - Kawhi Leonard shares update as Clippers step up NBA season preparations

    Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard says he feels good as he closes in on his long-awaited return from injury ahead of the 2022-23 NBA season.

    The two-time NBA Finals MVP missed the entire of the last campaign due to an ACL injury sustained in game four of the 2021 Western Conference Semi-Finals against the Utah Jazz. 

    The Clippers certainly felt Leonard's absence as they missed out on the play-offs, losing to the Minnesota Timberwolves and New Orleans Pelicans in the play-in tournament.

    The small forward averaged 24.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and a career-high 5.2 assists per game in the 2020-21 regular season, having averaged a personal best of 27.1 points the previous term - his first with the Clippers.

    In a compilation video posted on the franchise's social media channels, which featured several clips of him in the gym, Leonard could be heard saying: "Physically, I feel good."

    The 31-year-old will hope to make his return when the Clippers launch their 2022-23 campaign against the Los Angeles Lakers on October 20.

  • LeBron James signs two-year contract extension with Los Angeles Lakers worth $97.1m LeBron James signs two-year contract extension with Los Angeles Lakers worth $97.1m

    LeBron James has agreed a two-year contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers worth a whopping $97.1million.

    James, 37, had been entering the final year of a contract worth $44.5m. His new deal, as reported by ESPN, includes a player option for the 2024-25 season.

    The NBA great missed the Lakers' final two games of the 2021-22 season after suffering a sprained ankle, although he did enjoy the second-most productive campaign of his storied career in terms of points per game.

    He played 56 games overall, averaging 30.3 points per game, only the second time he has averaged over 30 in a season (31.4 PPG for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2005-06). 

     

    James averaged 8.2 rebounds per game, 6.2 assists and brought three-pointers into his arsenal more than ever, hitting a career-high season average of 2.9 successes and 8.0 attempts per game.

    He also became the first player in NBA history to record more than 10,000 career points, rebounds and assists.

    During career, James has won four NBA titles with three different teams – the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Lakers.

    In each of his championship-winning seasons, James was voted as Finals MVP, while he is also a four-time regular-season MVP, and an 18-time All Star.

  • NBA rules out November 8 games, avoiding clash with US midterm elections NBA rules out November 8 games, avoiding clash with US midterm elections

    The NBA will schedule no matches on November 8, the date of the US midterm elections, in order to encourage voter turnout.

    Ahead of Wednesday's full schedule reveal, the organisation confirmed all 30 teams will instead play on November 7, the day before polling booths open.

    The move marks a significant break from tradition for the governing body, which typically avoids matches on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.

    It comes on the back of increased political involvement from within the league during the 2020 election cycle.

    "The NBA today announced that no games will be played on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022," the league said in a statement.

    "The scheduling decision came out of the NBA family's focus on promoting nonpartisan civic engagement and encouraging fans to make a plan to vote during midterm elections."

    All 435 seats in the US House of Representatives will be contested this November, while more than 30 Senate seats and gubernatorial races will also be in the mix.

    It marks the first widespread elections since 2020, when Democrat Joe Biden defeated then-incumbent Republican Donald Trump for the US presidency.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.