NBA Finals Take Seismic Shift After Giannis

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Welcome to the Morning Shootaround, where every weekday you’ll get a fresh, topical column from one of’s NBA writers: Howard Beck on Mondays, Chris Mannix on Tuesdays, Michael Pina on Wednesdays, Chris Herring on Thursdays and Rohan Nadkarni on Fridays.

I had a piece in mind for today, but then Wednesday’s bizarre, incredible Game 4 changed those plans.

The contest was the type that makes you ball your idea up in a wad and throw it away. It was a classic game with an iconic moment, interspersed with a handful of teeth-grinding sequences that tugged at you—even if you didn’t have a rooting interest in whether the Suns went up 3–1 or the Bucks knotted the NBA Finals at two games apiece.

It’s impossible to start anywhere but the play that felt seismic; one that, for now, might be the defining play of two-time MVP and one-time Defensive Player of the Year Giannis Antetokounmpo’s career.

Milwaukee was up, 101–99, with just 80 seconds left when world-destroyer Devin Booker and his 42 points were coming around a Deandre Ayton screen at the top of the three-point arc. The guard had a half step and an advantageous angle to maneuver toward the rim against the Bucks’ P.J. Tucker, forcing Antetokounmpo to slide up to the free-throw line and help, leaving Ayton open for a dive to the rim.

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