Giannis hits that game-winner: describe your reaction.
Eric B: I flexed the muscles I don’t have and I think I punched my leg while screaming for some reason. I don’t really remember. I have to also assume that the Knicks folded the franchise.
Riley F: My reaction was quite simple: Scream, exclaim disbelief at the fact that I just witnessed what I believed I just witnessed, and speed type out the recap this evening. If there is a higher power, they’re certainly smiling down on the Bucks and those who follow them with tonight’s storybook ending.
Adam: A guttural shout at the pitch of a dog whistle. My life in sports fandom flashing before my eyes. Trying to hold in the greasy pizza I just bought from the random place around the corner with a display case for desserts that instead held only a single packet of those awful peanut butter and cheese crackers.
My. Feed. Dropped. When. The Bucks. Inbounded. The ball. To Giannis. On the last possession. I. Hate. EVERYTHING.— Mitchell M. (@WhalesLarry) January 5, 2017
I was despondent. My wife thought it was hilarious, though.
What does that shot mean for Giannis?
Eric B: I don’t think missing this shot would have changed much for Giannis, which is to say he’s been very, very good so far. He should get a huge confidence boost though with seeing a jumper go down, especially in crunch time. I don’t know what that means, but I’m very excited to take a seat and watch. He better be a starter for that All-Star Game.
Riley F: If anything, it has to go a long way towards pushing his league-wide stock up even further (if that were possible). It doesn’t get much bigger than putting one home over Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks, and I guarantee that game-winner will be a part of plenty of year-end highlight reels. It is just another step on his path towards the All-Star Game, in my opinion.
Adam: His first thought to a postgame question about the shot was to indicate how he can’t wait to hit one in Milwaukee. His deferred praise for the shot onto the bench players that entered the game in the fourth for another interview. For Giannis personally, this probably felt like just another jumper in that empty practice gym at 3AM. For Giannis in terms of his leaguewide perception, it’s just another boon in a series full of them so far.
Mitchell: There are moments that occur in the world that can redefine someone. It isn’t always as highly-visible as a professional sports contest, but these moments can have such a profound impact that the person...simply isn’t the same any more. It can literally reshape who they are.
This shot, for Giannis, is not that. He has never shied away from crunch time, nor has he ever given any indication that pressure affects him. He is a basketball player who is as uniquely capable of taking over a basketball game single-handedly as any of us have seen before.
But Giannis has been that player for quite some time now, and as Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins writes, he’s been that person for his entire life. This is just another day, just another highlight play, just another win.
What does that shot mean for the Bucks?
Eric B: I don’t want to predict a big run up the standings, but it was cool as hell to see the Bucks snap the general cycle of good win-stupid loss. A comeback win on the road like this combined with the Chicago and Oklahoma City victories has to be good on the team psyche.
Riley F: They’re two games above .500 now and find themselves in prime position to make a run for a solid if not great playoff position if things fall their way. They’ve been too wishy-washy to get your hopes way up, but hell, Giannis just nailed a fadeaway jumper, so why can’t anything be possible on a night like tonight? BELIEVE, MILWAUKEE!
Adam: Eric’s right, breaking out of that cyclical cycle of sadness was a fine development, and hopefully part of them progressing to a league average team in clutch time rather than remaining in the dredges. It’s also a road win, which is nothing to scoff at given this team’s inability to notch victories away from Milwaukee the last two years.
Mitchell: Once that buzzer sounded, the hope and optimism surrounding this franchise immediately gained untold volumes of credibility. There simply cannot be any doubt about what the Milwaukee Bucks have uncovered, and what they are building going forward. They don’t just have a star, they have Giannis, and there’s a big, big difference between the two.
Plus ticket sales might see a bump, which is nice.
Is there any hope for the rest of the NBA?
Mitchell: I’d say “maybe” if it weren’t for the fact that he also did this:
LeBron James is 32 years old, and still has good years left. His successor is 22 years old, and is flanked by a bunch of young players that play well off of him, fit alongside him, and are ready to take over the league with him. It’s going to be a fun decade, y’all.
Eric B: I won’t let myself go this far, in part because I don’t want to lose sight of what is happening right now. The future is very exciting, but for a large chunk of Bucks fans, this is the first or second time we’ve even seen a star player in a Bucks uniform (not to mention a potentially second or third star). It’s the first or second time us and our family/friends are tuning in every night, wondering what could possibly happen that night to top the previous game. It’s the first or second time that these very same sentiments are echoed across the national media and platforms. This is not normal here. It may become normal in the coming years, but it isn’t now. This, right now, is awesome and I’m not ready to fix my eyes elsewhere.
Riley F: We’re not championship winners yet, but I’d like to say we’re an ascendant power in the East, if not the NBA as a whole. Just remember: We’re bound to add Khris Middleton to the success we’ve already seen, will hopefully find the balance between Malcolm Brogdon and Matthew Dellavedova this year and beyond, and still have so many leaps and bounds for Jabari Parker and the great unknown that is Thon Maker (much less those who join us in the future). There’s a lot to look forward to, and I’m just glad we’re all here for the ride.
Mitchell: And if you thought it couldn’t get any better...