Giannis Antetokounmpo is making sure his push for the 2019 NBA Most Valuable Player Award is felt down the homestretch of the season. And during the Milwaukee Bucks’ matchup with the Boston Celtics Thursday, the man known as The Greek Freak lived up to his nickname on a few different occasions. One moment that stood out in a big way was a play that came on the defensive end.
As the NBA revealed on Twitter, Giannis chased down Celtics forward Jayson Tatum and swatted his dunk attempt off the backboard on a nearly unbelievable play.
The play made by Antetokounmpo was clutch and came late in the game between two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. Entering this game, the Bucks held the No. 1 seed with a 43-14 record while the Celtics are jockeying for position with the Philadelphia 76ers for the No. 4 spot and hold a 37-21 mark.
Bucks Knock off Celtics in Close Finish
Milwaukee picked up another impressive win, starting off the final stretch of the regular season with a 98-97 win after Kyrie Irving’s last-second attempt bounced out. Antetokounmpo had a huge game, tallying 30 points on 11-of-19 shooting with 13 rebounds, six assists, and two blocks.
The Bucks moved to 24-5 at home this season and have now won nine of their last 10 games and 15 of 17 dating back to the middle of January. They currently hold a 1.5 game lead on Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors for the top seed in the East but the two teams will not meet again this season.
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Superb Season
Entering Thursday’s marquee matchup with the Celtics, Giannis had put together impressive numbers across the board. Through the first 53 games and the All-Star break, he posted averages of 27.2 points, 12.7 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.4 blocks, and 1.4 steals per game. Arguably the most impressive part of his year is that Antetokounmpo has shot 58.1 percent from the field.
Over each of the first six seasons of his NBA career, the 24-year-old has increased his shooting percentages, scoring and rebounding. He’s become one of the most dominant players in the NBA and is only showing signs of continuing to get better from here as well.
While the MVP resume put together this season by Giannis has been nothing short of spectacular, he has some tough competition for the award. One name that specifically stands out is Houston Rockets star James Harden, who could spoil The Greek Freak’s chances when all is said and done. Through 54 games this season, Harden has averaged 36.6 points, 7.7 assists and 6.7 rebounds per game.
Obviously, there’s a lot of basketball left to be played, but Antetokounmpo and Harden are the frontrunners for the MVP award in the eyes of most.