Giannis Antetokounmpo was listed as questionable to play in the first game of the 2021 NBA Finals due to a hyperextended knee that kept him out of the final two-plus games of the Bucks-Hawks series.
“The Greek Freak” was able to quell concerns about his health with a monster block at the end of the first half of Game 1 against the Suns.
Antetokounmpo flew in out of nowhere to swat a Mikal Bridges shot off the backboard with less than a minute left in the second quarter. That ensured the Suns wouldn’t extend their lead to 10 points.
Here’s a look at the play, via the NBA’s official Twitter account.
And here’s a look at the play from another angle (and in slow motion!):
Certainly, there were shades of LeBron James’ chasedown block against the Warriors in that play. James famously blocked Andre Igoudala in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals to help the Cavaliers win the title.
NBA Twitter noticed the similarities between the two plays. As such, NBA fans compared Giannis’ block to LeBron’s, while also marveling at the Greek Freak’s overall athletic ability.
Jeff, that chasedown block by Giannis is not reminiscent of what LeBron did in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals.
It was nasty though.
— Colb (@___Colb___) July 7, 2021
That Giannis chase down block is crazzzzzy
— Kevin O’Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) July 7, 2021
That Giannis block gave me a flashback to the LeBron Game 7 block. “Blocked by Antetokounmpo” is going to be a classic Mike Breen line pic.twitter.com/7AavQmyhu8
— Saransh Sharma (@saransh_s1) July 7, 2021
I think I hyperextended my own knee watching that Giannis block
— sreekar (@sreekyshooter) July 7, 2021
Talk about playing hard / take a look at the effort of @Giannis_An34 as he just hustled & made one of the great defensive plays in the @NBA playoffs with an incredible block shot . @Suns behind 16 by @DevinBook lead at half 57-49 .
— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) July 7, 2021
Despite Antetokounmpo’s best efforts — 20 points, 17 rebounds, four assists, two steals and the block — the Suns still emerged from Game 1 of the series as the victors. Phoenix won 118-105 to earn a 1-0 series lead.