The Milwaukee Bucks had nothing to do with today’s matchup between Greece and Croatia in the first game of the Eurobasket 2022 tournament. But the team’s (game’s) best player was right in the middle of the action, as Giannis Antetokounmpo drove Greece to an 89-85 victory and reminded the world that yes, he is better at basketball than you are.
Here are the 2 Giannis sequences to close out the game vs Croatia pic.twitter.com/wUdpogl5WS— Jake Reetz (@jajareetz) September 2, 2022
Ok, so...whew. There’s a lot to unpack here. First of all, Giannis finished the game with 29 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 blocks...and all that came in less than 30 minutes and with a smattering of missed jumpers. It was a close game, and Croatia boasts a number of NBA-level players like Ivica Zubac, Mario Hezonja, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Dario Saric, so it’s not like the Greek National Team was overpowering. So with about a minute to go and his team hanging onto a two-point lead, Giannis flips the switch. And oh my, is it ever impressive.
First, he battles Zubac on the block and muscles his way into blocking the larger player’s shot, retaining possession for Greece. On the other end, Giannis works to get position over the smaller defender but Greece struggles to enter the ball in to him initially. Thankfully, Nick Calathes read the angle and managed to put the ball only where Giannis could get it...which happened to result in a reverse alley-oop dunk.
“Absurd” is indeed the word. And we’re only halfway through the closing sequence of this contest.
You see, Croatia still had time after Giannis’ backwards dunk, and they immediately called a timeout to regroup and eventually move the ball to an open shooter in the corner with 12 seconds remaining.
I’m just kidding, he wasn’t open, not at all.
You see, Giannis was under the basket when the ball found itself in the weak side corner with 12.1 seconds remaining on the game clock. The Croatian player had a window to put up a three which, if made, would have brought the game to within 1 point. That’s plenty of time for them to come back and take the lead away from Greece.
But not really. Because in just over a second (1.1 of them, to be precise), Giannis had simply appeared in front of the shooter and managed to block the three-point shot, allowing his teammate to recover it and start the fast break down the other way. It wasn’t a close-out, it was a teleportation.
And of course – of course – Giannis didn’t hang back on defense. He ran down the court, getting ahead of all but one of the Croatian defenders, receiving the pass and once again attacking the rim, demonstrating his otherworldly balance and body control as he slowed down, took the contact, and still managed to flip up a shot that banked home despite the foul.
OH MY GOSH GIANNIS BLOCKED THIS pic.twitter.com/ujpiHaQ1WH— Half Court Hoops (@HalfCourtHoops) September 2, 2022
Giannis Antetokounmpo defies description. Today’s demonstration was just another entry on the list of “how in the world did he do that?”
Because this is technically a Bucks site, we love to see (and share) that Giannis’ Milwaukee teammates were tuning in back home. They’re fans, just like us.
The Greek National Team next takes on Italy on Saturday, September 3. Don’t miss it, or any of the other group games that Greece is taking part in!