Giannis Antetokounmpo inspired the Greece National Team to an 89-85 victory Friday against Croatia in the opening round of the Fiba Eurobasket 2022. As we have seen so many times in his career. The “Greek Freak” simply takes over the game when it matters the most. Both offensively, and defensively. Sports analysis, Richard Jefferson spoke highly of the two-time NBA MVP in a recent podcast by Road Trippin.
“Let’s talk about the impact of games,” says Jefferson. “Let’s talk about intensity. Defense. Offense. He is the best two-way player on the planet. And it ain’t even close.”
Antetokounmpo from the field against Croatia shot (9/20) 2FG, (0/4)3FG, (9/11)FT. Finishing the game with 27 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 blocks. It was enough to seal the victory against a tough Croatian team. Led by Ivica Zubac, who plays for the Los Angeles Clippers, and Bojan Bogdanovic of the Utah Jazz.
The Croatians had their moments. They clawed their way back from a 19-point deficit in the 2nd quarter to make the game interesting.
Giannis’s heroic efforts
In the 4th quarter, Croatia managed to trim the lead to (84-82). With a minute left, Zubac had the ball with a chance to tie the game. He went up for a lay-up but was denied by an Antetokounmpo blocked shot. As the play ensues, Greece pushes the ball on offense. Nick Calathes delivers an alley-op pass to Antetokounmpo who finishes it with a backward dunk.
The sequence that sealed the game for Greece will be talked about throughout the tournament. With 10 seconds left to go in the game. Jalen Smith, of Croatia, seems to have a wide-open look for a corner three. Miraculously, Antetokoumpo from inside the painted area sprints and manages to block the shot.
How is that possible?
How on earth Giannis blocked this shot?#basketball #Eurobasket2022 #Greece #Giannis pic.twitter.com/o2GXHtYQC6 — Kostas Kalogeropoulos (@KostasKal4) September 2, 2022
Giannis blocked this. Not human. pic.twitter.com/yt7XDfFQJK — Nathan Marzion (@nathanmarzion) September 2, 2022
Let me put this into perspective. At the time Smith receives the ball there are 12.1 seconds on the clock. Antetokounmpo blocks the shot at 11.0 seconds. So, he can run cross-court and jump mid-air in 1.1 seconds?!
Only someone with the nickname “Greek Freak” can make that play.
After the block, Antetokounmpo sprints back in transition and delivers the final blow with a three-point play.