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The Block (Milwaukee Bucks)

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Giannis Antetokounmpo (top) blocked Deandre Ayton (bottom) in the final minutes of Game 4 of the 2021 NBA Finals.

The Block was a defensive basketball play that occurred in Game 4 of the 2021 NBA Finals, played between the Phoenix Suns and the Milwaukee Bucks on July 14, 2021, at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. With 1:14 remaining in the game and the Milwaukee Bucks leading 101–99, Giannis Antetokounmpo blocked Deandre Ayton's potential game-tying alley-opp. This is considered by the fans and the media to be one of the greatest blocks of all-time.[1]

The series[edit]

The Phoenix Suns, who entered the 2020-21 NBA season with a 10-year playoff drought and having a .302 winning percentage in the last five seasons, which is the worst winning percentage in the five years prior for a team advancing to the final playoff round in any of the four major American professional sports leagues,[2][3], acquired All-Star Chris Paul from the Oklahoma City Thunder by trading away Ricky Rubio, Kelly Oubre Jr., and a future first-round draft pick,[4] and made their first NBA Finals appearance since 1993 and were seeking for their first NBA Championship in franchise history. The Milwaukee Bucks, after finishing with the league's best record in the prior two seasons before suffering disappointments in the playoffs, acquired Jrue Holiday from the New Orleans Pelicans in a four-team trade, surrendering a bounty in starting point guard Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, the rights to R. J. Hampton, and a package of future draft picks,[5] and made their first NBA Finals appearance since 1974 and were seeking to end a 50-year title drought by winning their first NBA Championship since 1971.[6]

The Phoenix Suns took a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals by winning Games 1 and 2 at home, led by Chris Paul, with 32 and 23 points in Games 1 and 2, respectively, and Devin Booker, with 27 and 31 points in Games 1 and 2, respectively.[7][8] The Milwaukee Bucks won Game 3 120-100 at home, led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, who had 41 points, 13 rebounds and six assists, as well as more support from his teammates to cut the series deficit to 2-1.[9]

The game[edit]

Game 4 of the 2021 NBA Finals
1234 Total
Phoenix Suns 23293021 103
Milwaukee Bucks 20322433 109
DateJuly 14, 2021
VenueFiserv Forum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
RefereesJames Capers, David Guthrie, Courtney Kirkland
Attendance16,911

The Phoenix Suns led for 37:55 of the first 44 minutes of the game.[10] After the Phoenix Suns had a 99-97 lead with 2:30 remaining, Khris Middleton made consecutive jump shots to give the Milwaukee Bucks a 101-99 lead with 1:28 remaining.[11][12]

The Block[edit]

With 1:14 remaining in the game, Giannis Antetokounmpo blocked Deandre Ayton's potential game-tying alley-oop.[13][12] P.J. Tucker then grabbed the defensive rebound.

Rest of the Game[edit]

After Chris Paul lost his balance on his own, Jrue Holiday stole the ball and passed it to Khris Middleton for a fast-break layup to put the Milwaukee Bucks ahead 103-99 with 27.2 second remaining.[13][14][15] Khris Middleton then finished his 10-point run with four more free throws to put the Bucks ahead 107-101. The Milwaukee Bucks won the game 109-103 to tie the series at 2-2.[12]

Rest of series[edit]

The Milwaukee Bucks would go on to win the NBA Finals in six games, winning Game 5 123-119 highlighted by Jrue Holiday's steal from Devin Booker with 16 seconds remaining after which he passed the ball to Giannis Antetokounmpo for the alley-oop to put the Bucks ahead 122-109 with 13.5 seconds remaining,[16] and winning Game 6 105-98 led by Giannis Antetokounmpo's 50 points (which tied a Finals record for the most scored by a player in a series-clinching game, set by Bob Pettit of the St. Louis Hawks in 1958.[17][18]), 14 rebounds, and five blocks.[19][20] Giannis Antetokounmpo was named the NBA Finals MVP for his dominant performances in the NBA Finals, becoming the youngest player to be named NBA Finals MVP at age 26 since Kawhi Leonard (22) in 2014[21]

References[edit]

  1. Aschburner, Steve (July 15, 2021). "5 things we learned from Game 4 of the 2021 Finals". NBA.com. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  2. @ESPNStatsInfo (July 1, 2021). "The Suns had just a .302 winning pct in the previous 5 seasons entering this one. They are now headed to the NBA Finals. That's the worst in the 5 seasons prior to an appearance in the final postseason round in the history of the NBA, NFL, NHL or MLB" (Tweet). Retrieved July 1, 2021 – via Twitter.
  3. Schuster, Blake. "Suns Clinch 1st Playoff Spot Since 2010; Latest 2021 Standings, Playoff Picture". Bleacher Report. Retrieved July 1, 2021.
  4. "Suns complete trade for Chris Paul, Abdel Nader". NBA.com. November 16, 2020. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
  5. Deb, Sopan (July 4, 2021). "For the Milwaukee Bucks, the Jrue Holiday Gamble Yielded a Jackpot". The New York Times. Retrieved July 10, 2021.
  6. Andrews, Malika (July 3, 2021). "Khris Middleton lifts Milwaukee Bucks past Atlanta Hawks, into NBA Finals". ESPN.com. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  7. "Paul carries Suns past Giannis, Bucks in NBA Finals opener". ESPN.com. AP. July 6, 2021. Retrieved July 7, 2021.
  8. "Halfway there: Suns beat Bucks for 2-0 lead in NBA Finals". ESPN.com. AP. July 8, 2021. Retrieved July 9, 2021.
  9. "Bucks blowout: Giannis has 41, Suns' NBA Finals lead now 2-1". ESPN.com. AP. July 11, 2021. Retrieved July 12, 2021.
  10. McMenamin, Dave (July 15, 2021). "Phoenix Suns' Chris Paul vows 'to take care of the ball' after costly turnovers in Game 4 loss to Milwaukee Bucks". ESPN.com. Retrieved July 16, 2021.
  11. Bontemps, Tim (July 14, 2021). "Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo lead Milwaukee Bucks to critical Game 4 win over the Phoenix Suns with clutch performances down the stretch". ESPN.com. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 "Middleton sends Bucks past Suns to tie NBA Finals at 2-2". ESPN.com. AP. July 14, 2021. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Buckner, Candace; Wallace, Ava; Bieler, Des (July 14, 2021). "Milwaukee Bucks pull even in NBA Finals with win over Phoenix Suns in Game 4". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  14. Herring, Chris (July 15, 2021). "NBA Finals Take Seismic Shift After Giannis's Block". SI.com. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  15. Golliver, Ben (July 15, 2021). "Chris Paul's sloppy Game 4 finish brought back memories of his checkered playoff past". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 16, 2021.
  16. "Bucks edge Suns 123-119 to take 3-2 lead in NBA Finals". ESPN.com. AP. July 17, 2021. Retrieved July 8, 2021.
  17. Botkin, Brad (July 21, 2021). "Bucks vs. Suns NBA Finals: Giannis Antetokounmpo bests Michael Jordan's post-merger record with 50-point gem". CBSSports.com. Retrieved July 21, 2021.
  18. Jackson, James (July 20, 2021). "Sports world reacts to Milwaukee Bucks winning first NBA title since 1971". ESPN. Retrieved July 21, 2021.
  19. Deb, Sopan (July 20, 2021). "The Milwaukee Bucks Win the N.B.A. Championship". The New York Times. Retrieved July 21, 2021.
  20. Jackson, James (July 20, 2021). "Sports world reacts to Milwaukee Bucks winning first NBA title since 1971". ESPN. Retrieved July 21, 2021.
  21. "Giannis Antetokounmpo wins 2021 NBA Finals MVP: Bucks star becomes youngest winner since Kawhi Leonard in 2014". CBSSports.com. Retrieved 2021-07-22.


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