This year’s MVP race in the NBA is one of the hottest and closest ones in years.
The three finalists are Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, who has won the award twice, the Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic, who won it last year and Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, who led the NBA in scoring.
Other contenders are Luka Doncic, Devin Booker and Jayson Tatum.
But on current form, Antetokounmpo is this week’s stand out candidate. Facing the NBA’s No. 1 defence in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals, the ‘Greek Freak’ was still able to amaze with a crazy highlight play.
In the fourth quarter in Boston on Sunday, Antetokounmpo - with a defender draped all over him - had picked up his dribble and was struggling to find a teammate.
But rather than trying a speculative shot or pass the ball off, he turned towards the basket, threw the ball off the backboard before slamming home to complete the solo alley-oop.
The explosive display of athleticism gave the Milwaukee Bucks a 94-78 lead late in the fourth quarter and was the crowning moment of the team’s 101-89 victory over the Celtics.
When he was asked about the electrifying moment, Antetokounmpo, 27, joked: “What did I see? I had the ball and I was like: ‘Oh, crap. I’m going to get stuck,’”
“I threw it to the backboard,” he said. “I’m lucky enough that God blessed me with the ability to jump. I had a good jump to go get it again and I was able to finish the play.”
He finished with a triple-double with 24 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists.