That’s what Sacramento Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton appropriately labeled the play that ended in a Giannis Antetokoumnpo drive to the rim and started beyond the three-point line.
And, honestly, that’s what they are. The offense breaks down, Giannis dribbles back out beyond the three-point line — what looks to be about 27 feet away from the basket, and generally at the top of the key — dribbles, snorts, and charges into the defense, usually utilizing a euro-step (or the occasional spin move) leading into his shot attempt. Enticing Giannis to do this is how the Miami Heat were able to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks so handily in last year’s playoffs. We also saw it a lot against the Brooklyn Nets, in particular, during the Bucks seven-game series with them two rounds ago.
In these last two games, he’s cut that down and is instead working from inside the three-point line, at times very close to the paint, and is creating easier offense for himself as well as his teammates in the event where he passes out of the post. He’s been historically superb in back-to-back showings despite being, at that point, less than two weeks removed from hyperextending his knee in a way that led many to believe he may have done something much worse.
In Game 2, though the Bucks fell to the Phoenix Suns 118-108 and assumed a 2-0 deficit in the NBA Finals, Giannis held up his end, accumulating 42 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, and three blocks on 15-for-22 shooting. He only shot 1-for-5 from three and 11-for-18 from the free throw line, but he was still the only positive (+3) for the Bucks on the floor. Let’s go through some highlights.
In Game 3, a 120-100 win, Giannis had 41 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists while shooting 14-for-23 from the field, and only took two threes, both of which were missed. He also hit an improved 13-for-17 on free throws. (He’s averaging 3.6 three-point attempts per game in the playoffs, same as the regular season.)
You get the idea. When you watch Game 4, notice Giannis being more creative with the ball, setting up offense closer to the rim, and not merely driving into contested layups, but having more patience while his teammates smartly cut behind the preoccupied defense. He’s been excellent these last two games, and in turn, is the best player in the NBA Finals at the moment. The Bucks are still down 2-1 and have to win Game 4 to avoid an unfavorable situation, but they look much better at home with Giannis playing like the two-time MVP he is.
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