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Giannis MVP Watch: Bucks vs. Timberwolves

Antetokounmpo spreads dunks across the Minnesota defense

If you’re new to this series, read our previous entries about Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo’s MVP candidacy (Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII).

What did he do?

22 points, 10 rebounds and 3 assists on 55 percent shooting in a 102-96 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday night.

Did he dunk on someone?

Who didn’t he dunk on? Antetokounmpo was rattling so many rims at the BMO Harris Bradley Center that the rims at the Target Center in Minneapolis could feel it.

The dunks were spread across the Timberwolves defense, leaving no man safe. Nemanja Bjelica, would you like some pancakes? Here you go:

Et tu, Andrew Wiggins? Antetokounmpo slammed the ball so hard it likely tightened Wiggins’ straight backs just a notch:

But Antetokounmpo saved the best for last. He grabbed a rebound, jetted past his defender, Wiggins, who received a stiff pick from Bucks center Thon Maker, built up steam on Freight Train Giannis and barreled toward a backtracking Jimmy Butler. The 6-foot-8 guard froze at the free throw line, anticipating Antetokounmpo running into him for the offensive foul call, but Antetokounmpo “gyrostepped” the width of Interstate 94 west around Butler’s entire frame and slammed it home to put the Bucks within five points. Going forward, he shall now be referred to as “Jimmy Duck-Its,” as he wanted no parts of what Antetokounmpo was serving up Thursday.

Did he make a crazy play?

While what he did to Butler was by far the play of the game, a sequence at the very beginning of the first quarter is just quintessential Giannis at this point. Antetokounmpo received the ball near the corner of the court and pump-faked Wolves forward Taj Gibson to get him in the air and out of the way, and when Wiggins came over to provide help defense, Antetokounmpo “gyrostepped” between the two defenders, leaving poor Karl-Anthony Towns alone in the paint to make a business decision. KAT chose wisely.

What was his MVP moment?

Even though Antetokounmpo was Jimmy jamming all over the Timberwolves for most of the night, the Bucks, overall, did not play well before the fourth quarter. The Bucks trailed 74-54 five minutes into the third quarter, and it looked like the game was well out of reach. But then a late rally, led by guards Eric Bledsoe and Khris Middleton, brought the Bucks back, and they eventually took a five-point lead with just under two minutes left in the game. Antetokounmpo ran a perfect pick-and-roll with Bledsoe, leaving the diminutive Tyus Jones (6-foot-2) alone to guard the 6-foot-11 Antetokounmpo. Jones somehow lost track of Antetokounmpo, and the Bucks point forward set up shop in the restricted area and received a pass just as Towns moved over to deflect. Antetokounmpo collected the ball and easily laid it in to push the Bucks’ lead to seven and completely out of reach.

Game, blouses.

Martenzie is a senior researcher for The Undefeated. His favorite cinematic moment is when Django said "Y'all want to see somethin?"