The Brooklyn Nets took a 1-0 series lead over the Milwaukee Bucks with a 115-107 victory at Barclays Center on Saturday, June 5. The Nets and the Bucks are two of the most talented squads left in these playoffs as the team has four of the last seven NBA Most Valuable Players among Kevin Durant (2014), James Harden (2018), and Giannis Antetokounmpo (2019, 2020).
Many experts believe that the winner of this series will go on to win this year’s NBA title after LeBron James and last year’s champion, the Los Angeles Lakers, were eliminated in the first round by the Phoenix Suns. There is a lot on the line in this series and as a result, things have already begun to get chippy between the two powerhouses.
That was evident on one play in particular from the game.
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Blake Griffin Steps Over Thanasis Antetokounmpo
With so much on the line in this second-round matchup between the Bucks and the Nets, both teams are looking to gain an edge both mentally and on the scoreboard. With the Nets leading by a score of 115-100 in the fourth quarter of Game 1, Nets forward Blake Griffin stepped over Thanasis Antetokounmpo at the 1:26 mark.
Bucks guard Jeff Teague particularly took exception to Griffin’s actions and let him know about it, causing a dust-up to occur between the two teams at half court.
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Allen Iverson and Tyronn Lue Reflect on the Step-Over
June 5 marked the 20th anniversary of the iconic step-over move by Allen Iverson. Iverson hit a clutch bucket during overtime of the 2001 NBA Finals over Tyronn Lue of the Los Angeles Lakers right in front of the Lakers bench. Iverson and the Sixers would go on to win Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals and ruin the Lakers’ perfect postseason, though they lost the series in five games.
Iverson has become even more famous because of the iconic moment, but he does not necessarily view that as a positive thing.
“I don’t like it because I love him, I don’t like people joking on him and all that, because that’s my man,” Iverson told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols in 2016. “I didn’t even know I did it. I was in the moment. Just like everybody talks about the Jordan crossover, I didn’t remember that I was just playing.”
Lue consequently has also become more famous because Iverson stepped over him. The downside to it however has been that because of what happened to Lue during the 2001 Finals as a player his success as a coach has often been overlooked.
“The step-over definitely made me famous, the thing with Allen Iverson is, he made me,” Lue told The Undefeated in 2017. As one might expect the famed step-over moved caused bad blood between the two guards for a while, but down the line, Lue and Iverson have become close friends as a result.
“Like, after the Finals, probably four or five years after, we hated each other,” Lue said to ESPN in 2016. “But then after the careers went along, we became pretty close and had a good bond. He’s really a good friend of mine.”
The step-over has become a famous move used in the NBA as a way to disrespect opponents. It happened to the Bucks, and now it will be interesting to see whether Milwaukee retaliates if they gain an edge in this series.