In the fourth quarter in Boston on Sunday, Antetokounmpo – with a defender draped over him – had picked up his dribble and struggled to find a teammate.
But instead of trying a speculative shot or passing the ball, ‘Greek Freak’ turned to the basket, tossing the ball from the backboard before slamming home to complete the solo alley.
The explosive display of athletics gave the Milwaukee Bucks a 94-78 lead late in the fourth quarter and was the crowning achievement of the team’s 101-89 victory over the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of their best of seven playoff series.
When asked about the electrifying moment, the two-time MVP said it was his method of getting out of a jam.
“I threw it to the back plate,” he said. “I’m so lucky God blessed me with the ability to jump. I had a good jump to take it again and I was able to finish the piece.”
It was yet another addition to the 27-year-old’s already impressive highlight wheel as he proved to be a threat to the Celtics all evening.
He finished with a triple-double – the second in the postseason of his career – with 24 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists.
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer showed his appreciation for Antetokounmpo’s solo alley-oop, saying it was “just pure talent, just pure instinct.”
“He’s a great player. He does things that are unique and special and on time,” Budenholzer said. “It’s one of those plays where you’re glad he’s on our side.”
Jrue Holiday had 25 points and 10 rebounds as reigning champions Bucks used their physical defense to stifle the undulating Celtics, who came from the Brooklyn Nets in the final round of the playoffs.
The Celtics’ two stars – Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown – were held on 21 and 12 points, respectively, and shot a total of 10-to-31 in the game.
When the Bucks’ length and physique closed the Celtics close to the basket, Boston shot 50 three-pointers, making just 18 and shooting 33.3% from the field as a team.
“Offensively, not our best night. I thought we were guarding well enough,” Celtic coach Ime Udoka said. “Losing a 12-point game when we shot so badly bodes well for us. In a way, it’s good to get this dud out of the way, offensively.”
The teams meet Boston again for Game 2 on Tuesday.